Alignment: Overall Summary

Benchmark Kindergarten materials partially meet the expectations of alignment. The materials meet most expectations of text quality and complexity, and many tasks and questions are grounded in evidence. . Some speaking and listening activities may need to be supported with extensions to dive deeper into the text, but focus on teaching protocols and modeling academic language are in place. Materials address foundational skills to build comprehension and provide questions and tasks that guide students to read with purpose and understanding, making connections between acquisition of foundational skills and making meaning during reading. The materials partially meet expectations for building knowledge within the grade level. Academic vocabulary is addressed in each module. There is partial evidence of the materials providing coherently sequenced questions and tasks to support students in developing literacy skills. Culminating tasks partially meet the criteria for requiring students to read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts while students participate in a volume of reading to build knowledge.

Alignment

|

Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
27
52
58
53
52-58
Meets Expectations
28-51
Partially Meets Expectations
0-27
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
26
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

|

Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
N/A
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

Kindergarten instructional materials meet the expectations for text quality for complexity and alignment to the standards. Most tasks and questions are text based and grounded in evidence. The instructional materials include some texts that are worthy of students' time and attention and provide many opportunities for rich and rigorous, evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Some speaking and listening activities may need to be supported with extensions to dive deeper into the text, but focus on teaching protocols and modeling academic language are in place. Materials address foundational skills to build comprehension and provide questions and tasks that guide students to read with purpose and understanding, making connections between acquisition of foundational skills and making meaning during reading. Materials also provide opportunities to increase oral and silent reading fluency across the grade level.

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.
16/20
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Materials partially meet the criteria for including anchor texts that are of publishable quality, are worthy of especially careful reading and/or listening, and consider a range of student interests. Texts meet the text complexity criteria for each grade. Students engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts (including read-aloud texts in K-2 and shared reading texts in Grade 2 used to build knowledge and vocabulary) are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading/listening and consider a range of student interests.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for anchor texts (including both read aloud texts in K-2 as well as shared reading texts in Grade 2 used to build knowledge and vocabulary), are of publishable quality, are worthy of especially careful reading and/or listening, and consider a range of student interests.

The texts provided throughout Kindergarten include some texts that are engaging and rich in language, while others are overly simplistic and less engaging. Texts include vibrantly colored illustrations that help students to make meaning of the written text.

Most informational texts are of high quality. Some examples include the following:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, “Let’s Play By the Rules” is an informational read-aloud text with photographs of children participating in different sporting events. The text contains content rich vocabulary such as coaches, equipment, and fair.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, “What Do Plants Need” by Debra Castor is an informational read-aloud science text with photographs and diagrams detailing plants as they grow. There is content rich vocabulary such as roots, stems, leaves and flowers.

Materials include some well-known stories such as “The Tortoise and the Hare”, “Five Little Monkeys”, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, “Goldilocks and The Three Bears”, and “The Little Red Hen.” While the texts include vibrantly colored photos and illustrations that help students to make meaning of the text, many of these are revisions that are simplistic and less engaging for students.

Indicator 1b

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

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

The materials in Benchmark reflect a balance of informational and literary reading selections appropriate for Kindergarten. Each three-week unit contains high-quality shared, mentor and extended read texts. A variety of genres are represented in each unit including poetry, folktales, fables, nonfiction, historical, scientific, and technical texts. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • “Follow the Rules to Play Soccer” (Unit 1, Week 1, Shared Reading, Procedural Text)
  • “Rules are Cool” (Unit 1, Week 3, Extended Read, Realistic Fiction)
  • “Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling” (Unit 2, Week 1, Shared Reading, Poem)
  • “Bear and Fox” (Unit 2, Week 2, Shared Reading, Animal Fantasy)
  • “Grow, Pumpkin, Grow!” (Unit 2, Week 1, Read-Aloud, Informational Science)
  • “My Garden” (Unit 3, Week 2, Shared Reading, Poem)
  • “Itsy Bitsy Spider” (Unit 4, Week 1, Shared Reading, Poem)
  • “A Home Run” (Unit 4, Week 3, Shared Reading, Realistic Fiction)
  • “Up, Up, and Away!” (Unit 5, Week 1, Read-Aloud, Informational Text)
  • “Our Amazing Phones” (Unit 5, Week 2, Shared Reading, Informational Text)
  • “Crow Learns a Lesson” (Unit 6, Week 1, Shared Reading, Fable)
  • “Helping Each Other” (Unit 6, Week 1, Shared Reading, Realistic Fiction)
  • “The First Thanksgiving” (Unit 7, Week 1, Read-Aloud, Informational Text)
  • “Happy Birthday, USA!” (Unit 7, Week 3, Shared Reading, Poem)
  • “The Coolest Vacation” (Unit 8, Week 1, Read-Aloud, Informational Text)
  • “How is the Weather” (Unit 8, Week 1, Shared Reading, Informational Science)
  • “Bear Needs Help” (Unit 9, Week 3, Shared Reading, Animal Fantasy)
  • “What Do I Want?” (Unit 9, Week 3, Shared Reading, Poem)
  • “The True Story of Balto, the Sled Dog” (Unit 10, Week 1, Read-Aloud, Social Studies)
  • “Riding a Roller Coaster” (Unit 10, Week 3, Shared Reading, Realistic Fiction)

Indicator 1c

Texts (including read-aloud texts and some shared reading texts used to build knowledge and vocabulary) have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and a relationship to their associated student task. Read-aloud texts at K-2 are above the complexity levels of what most students can read independently.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria for texts (including read-aloud texts and some shared reading texts used to build knowledge and vocabulary) and have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and a relationship to their associated student task. Read-aloud texts at K-2 are above the complexity levels of what most students can read independently.

The anchor texts at the Kindergarten level contain quantitative and qualitative measures that are at the appropriate level of rigor/text complexity for Kindergarten and contain text features that support tasks and students’ literacy development to achieve grade level proficiency. The materials contain a variety of interactive read aloud texts with Lexile levels above 200, which are above the complexity levels of what most Kindergarten students can read independently.

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, students listen to the mentor text, “No Dogs Allowed In School.”
    • Quantitative: Lexile 360
    • Qualitative: The text contains slightly complex vocabulary that will help the students build on their vocabulary skills such as followed and unhappy. The text also has one level of meaning with a theme that is obvious, and the theme is revealed early in the text.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, students listen to the text, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” retold by Brenda Parkes.
    • Quantitative: Lexile 500
    • Qualitative: The text has a low complexity because it has a simple, very familiar plot. The narrative structure is strictly sequential. Vocabulary is familiar. There are a few complex sentences. This familiar story requires no prior knowledge for comprehension.
  • In Unit 5, Week 3, students listen to the text, “The No-Tech Day of Play” by Brenda Parkes and Jeffrey B. Fuerst.
    • Quantitative: Lexile 490
    • Qualitative: The text contains low complexity. The story has a simple theme and follows a chronological order with sequential events that build on one another. Sentences are simple, and the language is common with familiar vocabulary. Familiar settings and situations require no prior knowledge.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, students listen to the text, “The Coolest Vacation.”
    • Quantitative: Lexile 610
    • Qualitative: The complexity of the text is low. The text has a simple purpose with a narrative structured around facts that are sequentially organized to build comprehension. Sentences are simple and vocabulary is familiar. The text assumes some prior knowledge about cooler climates.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' literacy skills (comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (leveled readers and series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ literacy skills (comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (leveled readers and series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).

The complexity of anchor texts students hear through read aloud texts provides an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to increase across the year through a series of texts that include a variety of complexity levels. In the Teacher’s Resource System, lessons contain the gradual release of responsibility to guide teachers through teaching complex texts. The scaffolded components of the lessons include teacher modeling and teacher think-alouds. In Guided Practice, scaffolds include rereading to find text-dependent evidence, note-taking in a graphic organizer with text details, and collaborative conversations between students about the text. Although scaffolded activities are provided throughout the materials, two Shared Reading texts are shared and analyzed over Week 1, two Mentor Read-Aloud texts are shared and analyzed over Week 1, two more Shared Reading texts are shared and analyzed over Week 2, an additional two Shared Reading texts are shared and analyzed in Week 3, and two more Extended Read texts are shared and analyzed in Week 3. More complex texts do not receive increased instructional and analysis time. There are specific weekly routines for close reading and rereading that do not allot additional time for more complex text.

  • In Unit 1, Weeks 1-3, students hear the reading of Mentor Read-Aloud texts and Extended Read texts from 210L to 500L during whole group reading. In Week 1, students hear and analyze the Mentor Read-Aloud texts, “Let’s Play by the Rules!” and “A New Pet.” For both “Let’s Play by the Rules” and “A New Pet,” students listen and retell key details. In Week 2, students hear and analyze the Extended Read 1 text, "What are Some Rules at School?", and students listen and retell key details, identify parts of a book, identify the author’s reasons, identify text features, and make connections between illustrations and text. In Week 3, students read and analyze the Extended Read 2 text, "Rules Are Cool", and students listen and retell key details, make connections between illustrations and text, identify the author and illustrator, identify characters in a story, and write a description.
  • In Unit 9, Weeks 1-3, students hear the reading of Mentor Read-Aloud texts and Extended Read texts ranging from 360L to 570L during whole group reading. In Week 1, students hear and analyze the Mentor Read-Aloud texts, “Firefighters at Work” and “A Gift for Mom”. For both Mentor Read-Aloud texts, students listen and retell key details. In Week 2, students hear and analyze the Extended Read 1 text, "Our Needs and Wants", and students listen and retell key details, compare and contrast text structures, make connections between illustrations and text, and analyze text features. In Week 3, students read and analyze the Extended Read 2, "Munching Millie" by Brenda Parkes. Students listen and retell story details, identify problem-solution text structure, make inferences about characters, and compare and contrast text structures.

The tasks students complete over the three week unit are similar, and there is a missed opportunity for the tasks to increase in rigor when the tasks are repetitious.

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 4, students compare and contrast two texts, "What are Some Rules at School?" (Extended Read 1) and "Rules Are Cool" (Extended Read 2). The teacher models a Compare/Contrast Chart to compare and contrast the two texts. During Guided Practice, the teacher asks compare and contrast questions such as, “Which text tells about small contributions?" and "Which text tells about large contributions?”. During Show Your Knowledge, students tell the teacher one way the texts are the same and one way the texts are different.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Day 4, students compare and contrast two texts, "Our Needs and Wants" (Extended Read 1) and "Munching Millie" (Extended Read 2). The teacher models creating a Compare and Contrast Chart to compare and contrast the two texts. During Guided Practice, the teacher can use directive and corrective prompts to guide students: “Are these two selections set up in the same way or in different ways?", "Munching Millie" has illustrations. How is that different from "Our Needs and Wants"?” During Show Your Knowledge, partners take turns telling each other how the two selections are the same and different.

Indicator 1e

Anchor texts (including read-aloud texts in K-2) and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten 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 Program Reference Guide provides rationale for the texts in the materials.

  • Shared Readings connect to the unit topic and are intended to be used to model fluency.
  • Mentor Read-Alouds are short reads that connect to unit topics and are used to model making meaning in complex texts.
  • Texts for Close Reading selections are designed to capture students’ interest and imagination. These texts details standards for achievement.

The materials for Kindergarten contain a detailed text complexity analysis including quantitative, qualitative, and reader and task information for Mentor Read-Alouds and Extended Reads throughout the year. The quantitative measure is provided in the form of a Lexile score. The qualitative measure (QM) is based on an analysis of four dimensions of qualitative text complexity. The scores for each dimension are added together to determine the overall score. The Grade Resources Section contains a Guide to Text Complexity with a rubric for the qualitative dimensions within the literary and informational texts. Examples of analysis provided include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, the first Mentor Read-Aloud, “Let’s Play by the Rules”, has a Lexile level of 500. The total qualitative measure is low complexity. The second Mentor Read-Aloud, “A New Pet”, has a Lexile level of 450. The qualitative measure is low complexity. In Week 2, the Extended Read, “What are Some Rules at School?”, has a Lexile level of 480. The total qualitative measure is moderate complexity. In Week 3, the Extended Read, “Rules are Cool!”, has a Lexile level of 210. The total qualitative measure is low complexity.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, the first Mentor Read-Aloud, “The Coolest Vacation”, has a Lexile level of 610. The total qualitative measure is low complexity. The second Mentor Read-Aloud, “The Great Blizzard”, has a Lexile level of 340. The total qualitative measure is moderate complexity. In Week 2, the Extended Read, “Weather and Seasons”, has a Lexile level of 480. The total qualitative measure is moderate complexity. In Week 3, the Extended Read, “One Snowy Day” by Tammy Salzano, has a Lexile level of 220. The total qualitative measure is low complexity.

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 Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

The materials for the Kindergarten English Language Arts program contain a 90-120 minute block for full- day kindergarten and 70-90 minutes for half-day kindergarten. The block allows time for Interactive Read-Aloud, Shared Reading, Reading Mini-Lessons with Mentor Read-Aloud or Extended Reads, and Small Group Reading. Each three week unit provides six shared readings per week, two extended reading texts per unit, two Mentor Read-Alouds, decodables, leveled readers to use within small group instruction, and two reader’s theater texts per unit.

An independent reading program is available in the section, Managing an Independent Reading Program, within the grade resources under additional resources, “Within Benchmark Advance, students may participate in daily independent reading during the Independent and Collaborative Activity block, while the teacher meets with small groups of students to conduct differentiated small-group reading instruction, model fluency skills through Reader's Theater, or reteach skills and strategies.”

Each unit provides students with multiple opportunities to engage with text. For example, the focus of Unit 2 is Every Story has Characters. Throughout Unit 2, students engage in the six shared readings, two mentor read-alouds, and two extended reads. The genres and texts in Unit 2 are:

  • Week 1, a realistic fiction shared reading (“Sad Ladybug, Glad Ladybug”); a poem shared reading (“Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling”); a fable mentor read-aloud (“The Tortoise and the Hare”); a realistic fiction mentor read-aloud (“The Little Helper”)
  • Week 2, a realistic fiction shared reading (“A Birthday Cat”); an animal fantasy shared reading (“Bear and Fox”); a fable extended read (Goldilocks and the Three Bears);
  • Week 3, a realistic fiction shared reading (“New Friends”); a poem shared reading (“Little Bo-Peep”) an animal fantasy extended read ("The Little Red Hen").

During small group reading, students read from eight texts such as "The Enormous Turnip" and "Tim’s Trip". Students can read and participate in Reader’s Theater with "Meet the Three Bears" or "Tortoise and Hare Run a Race". Trade books are available in the unit such as "No, David! " by David Shannon and "Each Kindness" by Jacqueline Woodson.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
15/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The Kindergarten instructional materials meet expectations for alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent and build towards a culminating task that integrates skills. The instructional materials provide multiple opportunities for discussion that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and partially supports student listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching. The materials include frequent opportunities for different genres and modes of writing. Materials meet the expectations for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for the grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-based, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions. Questions, tasks, and assignments are mainly text-based and support students’ literacy growth over the course of the year. Throughout each lesson, the teacher is directing students to go back to the text to support their answers to the questions. At the Kindergarten level, students are provided teacher modeling to develop these skills. The Teacher’s Resources provides support for planning and implementation of text-dependent questions that support writing and speaking activities. Text-based questions are asked during read aloud texts, shared reading texts and viewing of videos.

Shared readings begin by utilizing an essential question to set the focus of listening for key details in the text. Students then share this information with the class, while the teacher guides them back to the text to support their answers. During this time, there are opportunities for turn and talk as well as collaborative conversations that result in the creation of a whole group chart where students’ ideas are provided. Assignments and activities require students to stay engaged with the text. Text-based questions grow in complexity as the year progresses. Teachers frame questions to help students make sense of the texts and to use strategies, such as inferring, that support student understanding of the texts which are aligned directly to the weekly essential question.

Text-dependent questions and tasks that students answer include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, students watch a video titled “Rules at Home and School” and listen closely to what the video shows and tells about rules at home and at school. Students then engage in a collaborative conversation with their partner discussing a rule at home or at school that they saw in the video. After the collaborative conversation, the teacher leads a discussion on the rules at home and school which were in the video to develop an anchor chart.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 3, students answer questions about what they see in the large picture compared to the smaller photo. They are asked to answer questions about what words in the text match in the photo. Also, in the Show Your Knowledge section, students discuss how the photo and text go together.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 3, students are partnered after repeated readings of the “Cars of the Future” and asked to “Take turns telling what this selection is mostly about.” Students make inferences and are also required to refer back to the text to determine if they are answering the prompt.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 1, students are read the text, “Crow Learns a Lesson.” The teacher asks, “How are Crow and Fox like real people? How are they like other story characters? Why couldn’t this story happen in our real world?”
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Day 2, students are asked the following text-based questions after Mentor Read 1: “How did knowing the causes and effects help us understand how the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag worked together?”, “How does the weather change in spring”, and “What causes the hotel to have to close?”
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Day 5, students engage in collaborative conversations in a small group to develop a group answer to the essential question. Each group’s spokesperson provides their group answer which is then put on an anchor chart to be displayed in the classroom.

Indicator 1h

Materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-based questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding (as appropriate, may be drawing, dictating, writing, speaking, or a combination).
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials containing sets of sequences of text-based questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding (as appropriate, may be drawing, dictating, writing, speaking, or a combination).

Kindergarten materials provide culminating tasks for students to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts examined throughout each unit. Essential Questions guide student learning throughout every unit within the curriculum where sequences of high-quality text-based questions, activities, and tasks are synthesized by students into an integrated production of speaking and/or writing.

Examples of questions, activities, and tasks that meet the criteria for this indicator include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, the Essential Question is “Why do we have rules?” In Week 1, Day 1, students identify key details about following rules in sports. In Week 2, Day 1, students identify and discuss school rules. In Week 3, Day 5, Reflect on Unit Concepts, students again watch the video from the first day of the unit and discuss how the video fits with the unit. In small groups, students share what they think about the Essential Question. As a whole class, students share ideas and the teacher collects the ideas for an anchor chart. At the end of Reflect on Unit Concepts, each peer group can select one rule they learned about and role-play a simple situation putting the rule into practice. The teacher is to record each group’s role play.
  • In Unit 3, the Essential Question is “Why do living things have different needs?” In Week 1, Day 2, students share ideas about what chimps need based on the text “What Do Chimps Need?” In Week 2, Day 3, students share with each other about the following question, “What are some special things that plants need?” In Week 3, Day 5, students summarize and collaborate as a group to answer the Essential Question. They also re-watch the video from earlier in the week and discuss how this fits into what they learned earlier. The teacher uses sentence stems to help the groups formulate their answer to the questions, “Why do people tell stories?”
  • In Unit 6, the Essential Question is “How do we know what is right?” In Week 1, Day 2, students share connections to the fable “Crow Learns a Lesson.” In Week 2, Day 4, students listen to a poem called “Good, Better, Best” and students answer the following questions: “What does this poem say we should do? When is it important for sports players to do their best? When is it important for classroom students to do their best?” In Week 3, Day 5, the culminating tasks are comprised of students engaged in a thinking activity about things they remember from the selections. They collaborate as a peer group and then share the information with the whole group. When they have completed this activity, they work to act out the message of the stories.
  • In Unit 8, the Essential Question is, “How do our lives change with the seasons?” In Week 1, students identify and write about key details and events. In Week 2, students find main topics and key details to help answer text-based questions. In Week 3, students reflect on Unit Concepts. Students answer the Essential Question in small groups. Each group is assigned a season to act out a specific activity pertaining to the specific season. Students rehearse the scene and are recorded on video.

Indicator 1i

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small group, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

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

Teacher materials support students’ practice and application of speaking and listening skills in concert with practice in reading for understanding. Materials provide multiple opportunities and support of protocols and implementation focused on using academic vocabulary and syntax for evidence-based discussions as well as teacher guidance across the year’s curricular materials to support students’ increasing skills. These materials are found in the Review and Routines section titled “Build Respectful Conversation Habits” and “Turn and Talk”.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, students participate in Collaborative Conversation: Partners. After watching the Unit 1 video, student are asked to think about some of the rules at home and school they saw in the video. With a partner, students tell each about a rule they saw in the video.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 1, students participate in Collaborative Conversation: Visualize. Students share what they pictured as they listened to the story. The teacher follows the student’s description with: “How did picturing what happened help you understand the story?”
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 1, students participate in Collaborative Conversation: Make Inferences and Predictions. Partners share how their prediction was the same or different from the story events. Students are then asked to make another inference based on: “How do you think Hank felt when he whacked the ball and hit a home run?”
  • In Unit 5, students participate in Collaborative Conversations: Peer Group. Students are placed into peer groups and the teacher explains that students will take turns telling key details from the text about technology. The following sentence frames are provided for students: “One key detail is…. Another key detail is….”
  • In Unit 8, Week 2, Day 3, students participate in Collaborative Conversation: Ask and Answer Questions. The teacher displays and read the Essential Question: “How do our lives change with the seasons?” Then the teacher asks, “How does what we wear change from season to season? Use the photographs in “The Four Seasons of the Year” to help you answer.” Students are to raise their hand if they would like to share their answer with the class. The teacher is to encourage students to use photo details to support their answer.

Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

Commonly disbursed within the daily lessons, intentional occurrences for listening and speaking and practice with language is afforded to all students. Kindergarten students do practice discussion frequently; however, use of the speaking and listening work in service of comprehension and support of literacy development is not consistent.

  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 5, students engage in oral rehearsal for independent writing. After participating in Shared Writing about writing an opinion, student rehearse what they will write: “Now it’s your turn to write an opinion on their favorite story. Turn and talk to your partner and tell your partner your opinion. Listen as your partner tells you what he or she will write.” In this example, the focus of speaking and listening practice is not text-driven.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, Day 3, the lesson starts with the teacher modeling a reading and then having the students divide into groups and read different parts of the text with the teacher. In Collaborative Conversation: Determine Text Importance, the teacher is directed to ask students, “Why do we tiptoe? Why do we run? Use important details in ‘How Many Ways Can You Move?’ to help you answer.” In this example, students do some referencing of the specific components of the text, but the text is secondary to the content discussion led by the teacher in the groups.

Some speaking and listening work does support Kindergarten students in their comprehension of texts. Examples of materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching include items such as:

  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 2, students determine the importance of text by engaging in collaborative conversation when answering the question, “I learned an important fact from the text.” In this example, students are practicing linking their text work to their speaking work as they identify specific text components.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Day 3, students engage in a collaborative conversation with peers by summarizing and synthesizing the essential question and answering how technology can help change the way people pay for things. Students turn and talk to a partner about how the hand scanner works. In this example, students practice discussion about the topic and draw examples from the text studied together.

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing, grade-appropriate writing (e.g. grade-appropriate revision and editing), and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

During each three week unit, the Kindergarten materials support students engaging in writing across the entire school year. This includes a mix of on-demand writing, in which students respond to a text, short, focused projects such as writing a letter utilizing details from the text, and process writing activities (e.g. shared writing, multiple drafts, revision processes, protocols, and review). The Response and Process Writing section includes skill introduction, practice, application, and refinement with teacher support and guidance over shorter periods of time with shared writing activities and extended periods of time where students learn the complete writing process including planning, revising, editing, publishing and sharing. Each three week unit also contains a Writing and Vocabulary section that explains types of writing, including narrative, informative, and opinion and also includes a mini-lesson. Examples of the mix of on-demand and process writing include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, students are read aloud “Let’s Play By the Rules.” Students write a key detail after the teacher has modeled and discussed how to select a key detail. Students orally rehearse the key detail with a partner. Students write a key detail from the story during independent time or at a station. The teacher monitors students and provides support as needed. After students complete their writing, the teacher models how to share writing with one another. Student share their key detail with a partner.
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 1, students are read aloud “The Little Red Hen” and complete a Story Events Chart to focus on what happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Students brainstorm ideas to add another event to "The Little Red Hen" story. Students begin writing a narrative. As students are writing, the teacher monitors and gives constructive feedback. Students share their completed story with a partner.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 3 students read “1,2,3, Blast Off” and participate in a shared writing activity in which students extend the story. Students answer three key questions: “What do I want to say about Zeff? Should I include his grandparents’ pet robots in the story? and Will I include a new setting?” Students independently write about what will happen next in the text
  • In Unit 8, students learn about the writing process over the course of two weeks. In Week 2, students hear and see an Informative Mentor Text. Students brainstorm, plan, draft to add facts, and draft to add a title. In Week 3, students revise to add facts, revise to add a picture, edit for punctuation, and publish. On Day 5, students share their completed writing with a partner. Students are instructed to give a compliment, ask a question, or make suggestions for changes to the text. Once each pair is finished sharing, the teacher selects several students to share with the whole class. The whole class is then encouraged to give a compliment, ask a question, or make suggestions
  • In Unit 9, students learn to write an opinion text. In Week 2, students hear and see an Opinion Mentor Text. Students brainstorm, state a reason, draft an opinion, and draft to add a title and additional information. In Week 3, students revise to add information, revise to add a conclusion, edit to check capitalization and end punctuation and publish. On Day 5, students share their completed writing.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

During each of the three week units, the Kindergarten materials supports authentic integration of writing with reading with teacher guidance and support. Writing is embedded across the school year with attention given to three different text types and purposes including narrative, informative/explanatory, and opinion/persuasive. The Kindergarten materials provide opportunities for drawing, dictating and writing to compose each writing type. Teacher resources include well-designed lesson plans, models/exemplars, and protocols to support student writing.

Students utilize literature, informational texts, poetry, and non-print sources such as videos to assist with writing assignments. Student choice is encouraged with activities that come from the learning such as choosing the characters to write about in response to a prompt in the text. Materials support teachers in planning for writing development and provide opportunities for monitoring progress. Writing tasks increase in rigor throughout the school year and sufficient instructional time is dedicated to teaching, practicing, applying, and presenting new writing skills. Examples of writing throughout the year include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Weeks 1-3, students practice different writing types. In Week 1, Day 1, the teacher models writing an opinion based on the text "What are Some Rules at School?". Students practice orally to rehearse their independent writing. Students may also draw and/or write.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 2, students write an opinion piece. Students use sentence frames to answer the question which character they like better, the tortoise or the hare, and why. Students may draw, or write using letter strings or simple sentences.
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 3, students have completed planning by brainstorming a list of animals that might visit Lion King from the story "Ungalala" retold by Brenda Parkes. During this lesson, students will choose an animal and discuss their narrative draft ideas with a partner. Students will independently write a story using pictures and/or words about the animal chosen.
  • In Unit 6, Weeks 2 and 3, students analyze books by Brenda Parkes during an author’s study to find how the author uses signal words and sequence of events. Students write to sequence an event from the story using some of the signal words they found.
  • In Unit 8, Week 2, students work on composing an informational writing piece based on a mentor text. Students analyze components of an informational text and then plan and draft an informational writing piece.

Indicator 1m

Materials include regular opportunities for evidence-based writing to support recall of information, opinions with reasons, and relevant information appropriate for the grade level.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meets the criteria for materials including regular opportunities for evidence-based writing to support recall of information, opinions with reasons, and relevant information appropriate for the grade level.

During each three week unit, the Benchmark Kindergarten materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply evidence-based writing. Lesson plans are well-designed and include models/exemplars and protocols to support student writing. Daily writing opportunities are focused around students’ recall of information to develop opinions from reading closely and working with evidence from texts and sources.

Materials in the sections titled Unit Writing and Vocabulary and Unit Strategies and Skills support teachers in guiding students’ understanding of recalling information, claiming opinions with reasons, and using relevant information.

Examples of opportunities for evidence-based writing include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Day 2, students are read aloud two texts “Follow the Rules to Play Soccer” and “Let’s Play By the Rules” and write an opinion based on the texts. The teacher models the process of writing an opinion utilizing an Author’s Statement and Reasons chart. Students write an opinion about which rule is most important at school.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 5, students participate in Shared Writing to compare and contrast “Lessons from Mama Bear” and “Grow, Pumpkin, Grow!” Students orally rehearse what they will write during independent writing time for comparison.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Day 1, students work together to write a key detail from the text, “Technology at School.” Students focus on the captions of the text and other details from the text in order to write key details. Students are prompted to use evidence from the text to discuss the detail chosen from the story.
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, Day 3, students have written an informative text about, “A Yellow Mitten.” Students work to edit the information written that highlights supporting key details about the story.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, Day 1, students participate in Shared Writing to learn how to write a key detail based on “The True Story of Balto, the Sled Dog.” After Shared Writing, students orally rehearse what they will write for a key detail during independent writing. Students can draw and/or write during writer’s workshop or at a writing station.

Indicator 1n

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

The materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for the grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Each unit has lessons that incorporate Build Language Review, which focus on the grammar and convention standards for the grade level. Grammar and conventions lessons are primarily addressed during the Shared Writing Mini-lesson portion of the Whole Group Materials. All grammar and conventions standards are covered over the course of the year and most standards are revisited throughout the year in increasing complexity, such as application to the text. Teachers are provided with a separate handwriting and grammar workbook for students to practice skills during small group rotations. Each grammar and convention lesson is similarly structured with teacher modeling, partner share, graphic organizer/chart, and oral language practice. The lessons also incorporate the language of the standards that allows for teachers and students to become familiar with that specific language. Students have opportunities to practice these skills in isolation during whole group instruction and then practice applying these skills during partner share.

Materials include explicit instruction of all grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. For example:

  • Students have frequent opportunities to print upper and lowercase letters. Handwriting lessons are addressed in the first 20 days. Capitalization is addressed in Unit 8 and a separate handwriting workbook is provided. Examples include:
    • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 2, during the lesson, Write the Rule, the teacher models writing an uppercase letter when writing a sentence about a rule. The sample sentence is: “A coach shows you how to use gear.” Direct instruction of how to write letters is not provided.
    • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 4, Shared Writing Mini-Lesson, the teacher reminds students that writers always begin the first word of a sentence with an uppercase letter, and authors always use an uppercase letter for the word I. The teacher displays page 26 of “Grow, Pumpkin, Grow!” and reads the third sentence. The teacher calls on volunteers to do the following: “Say the first word in the sentence. Name the letter with which the word begins. Tell why the first letter is uppercase T. Invite partners to locate all the examples of the word then in the text and discuss why some begin with an uppercase letter and some do not.”
  • Students have opportunities to use frequently occurring nouns and verbs. For example:
    • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 2, Shared Writing Mini-Lesson, the teacher is to remind students that a noun is a word that names a person, animal, place, or thing. The teacher says,“Circle the nouns in your sample writing and invite students to use them in oral sentences.” The teacher invites students to choose a page in “Let’s Play by the Rules!” and say nouns that name parts of the photographs on page 6, such as bat, batter, player, baseball, helmet, cap, and coach.
    • In Unit 1, Week 2, Day 2, Shared Writing Mini-Lesson, the teacher reminds students that a verb is a word that names an action. The teacher says, “Circle the verbs in your sample writing and invite students to use them in oral sentences. Then read aloud the first sentence on page 6 of "What Are Some Rules at School?" Point out the verb learn.” The teacher asks volunteers to use the word learn in oral sentences. Students are to choose a page or page spread in "What Are Some Rules at School?" and say verbs that name actions they see in the photograph, such as wear, watch, and paint in the large photograph on page 12.
    • In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 2, Shared Writing Mini-Lesson, the teacher reminds students that a verb is a word that names an action. The teacher rereads the first speech balloon on page 6 and helps students identify the verbs come, read, and join. Volunteers use the verbs in oral sentences about the story.
    • In Unit 5, Week 3, Day 2, during the lesson, Opinion: State a Reason, students are reminded that a noun is a word that names a person, animal, place, or thing. The teacher points to the word "computers" on page 16 of "The No-Tech Day of Play" and explains that "computers" is a noun that names a thing. Students are invited to use this noun in a sentence. In partners, students use the illustrations in The No-Tech Day of Play to create an oral list of nouns.
  • Students may have the the explicit opportunity to learn how to form regular plural nouns orally by adding /s/ or /es/ .
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 1, during the writing lesson, Write a Key Event, the teacher states that a singular noun names one person, animal, place or thing. A plural noun names more than one person, animal, place, or thing. The teacher then says the word tortoise, tree, race, and wish instructing students to orally form the plural by adding -s or -es. Working in partners, students then choose a page in “The Tortoise and the Hare” and point to and say singular and plural nouns that name parts of the illustration.
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 5, Shared Writing Mini-Lesson, the teacher reminds students that a singular noun names one person, animal, place, or thing. The teacher states,“A plural noun names more than one person, animal, place, or thing. Read the following sentences aloud." The directions state, "Ask students to help you orally correct each sentence. • Hare brags to the other animal. (animals) • Hare likes to run race. (races) • “I am King of Beast,” roared the lion. (Beasts) • The mouse and the lion are two different creature. (creatures)." In Oral Language Practice, students use the text illustrations to create sentences about “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Little Helper” that include plural nouns. For example: “Tortoise raises his arms when he crosses the finish line. Some hunters left a trap for the lion.”
  • Students have opportunities to understand and use question words about texts when the teacher asks specific questions referring back to the text.
    • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 3, Narrative Process Writing, students are reminded that some words are question words. The teacher states, “We can use these words to ask questions about a story.” The teacher displays and reads aloud the following words: who, what, when, where, why, and how. A student chooses one of the question words. The teacher asks a question about “The Little Red Hen” that begins with that word for the student to answer. For example: “What does the little Red Hen bring home from the mill?” In Oral Partner Practice, students turn to a partner. One partner selects a question word, the other partner asks a question about the story that begins with that question word for the first partner to answer. Partners switch roles and continue the game until they’ve used all six words.
    • In Unit 6, Week 2, Day 1, Writing: Author Study, an objective is to use question words: “Point out that students can use question words during this unit to ask questions about Brenda Parkes and her books. Display the question words students have learned previously and work together to generate questions about Brenda Parkes.”
  • Students have opportunities to practice using frequently occurring prepositions. For example:
    • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 3, Shared Writing Mini-Lesson, the teacher says the word "preposition" and asks students to repeat it. The teacher states, “We’ve learned that a preposition is a word that connects important words in a sentence. Prepositions help give more information, such as what, how, or where.” The teacher writes sentences and underlines the preposition. A volunteer uses the preposition in another sentence. Partners use prepositions to describe the location of the characters in illustrations of “The Spider and the Deer.” For example: “Spider is riding on Deer’s ear.”
    • In Unit 10, Week 2, Day 1, the teacher says the word preposition and asks students to repeat it. “We have learned that a preposition connects important words in a sentence. Prepositions help give more information, such as what, how, or where. This week we will find prepositions in our reading and use them as we speak and write.” Afterwards, the class practices identifying and underlining the preposition in sentences. The class continues to work on the skill throughout the week, and on Day 4, after identifying the prepositions in sentences, students practice creating a new sentence to use the preposition in.
  • Students have opportunities to produce and expand complete sentences. For example:
    • In Unit 9, Week 1, Day 1, Shared Writing Mini-Lesson, partners share their writing. The teacher reminds students that a complete sentence tells the complete idea. Students are instructed that when we want to expand a sentence, or make it longer, we add interesting facts and details, both parts are needed to tell a complete idea. The teacher writes: “The firefighters arrive.” After drawing a box around the naming part (The firefighters) and telling part (arrive), students add facts and details to expand the sentence.
    • In Unit 10, Week 3, Days 1-3, Shared Writing Mini-Lesson, students have the opportunity to practice expanding complete sentences. The teacher models how to add words to create the following sentence: “The position of the football changes when I throw it across the field.” The teacher underlines the added words to show how the sentence was expanded. Students then practice with a partner expanding the same sentence that the teacher had previously modeled.
  • Students have opportunities to capitalize the first word in a sentence and use ending punctuation. For example:
    • In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 1 during Informative Writing: Brainstorm, the teacher reminds students that writers always begin the first word of a sentence with an uppercase letter, and they always use an uppercase letter for the word I. The teacher displays page 4 of “What Do Animals Need?” and reads it aloud. Students are called on to say the first word of each sentence. The teacher tells why the first letters of the words are uppercase. Partners discuss what the animals in the photographs on pages 4 and 5 might say, such as I am running or I am eating. Students are reminded that the word I is always an uppercase letter when written.
  • Students have opportunities to recognize and name punctuation. For example:
    • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 1, Shared Writing Mini-Lesson, the teacher displays sample writing and explains that a complete sentence ends with a period. The teacher states, “We use a period at the end of a telling sentence, or statement. We use an exclamation point at the end of a sentence that shows strong feelings, such as excitement or fear. We use a question mark at the end of an asking sentence, or question." The teacher points out that the title of "Who’s in the Shed?" is a sentence that asks a question, so it ends with a question mark. The teacher invites partners to locate and name the end punctuation in "Who’s in the Shed?" and discuss why the author uses each mark.
    • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 3, during Write an Opinion, the teacher displays the teacher modeled writing. Students are asked to name the end punctuation and tell why it was used. The teacher then writes related sentences that require all three types of end punctuation. Volunteers are asked to add the correct end marks and tell why they used them.
  • Students have opportunities to write letter(s) for most consonant and short-vowel sounds. For example:
    • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 2, Shared Writing Mini-Lesson, the teacher models writing a sentence applying phonics knowledge. While writing independently, students draw and write. The teacher encourages students to write known letters that go with sounds he or she hears in a word.
    • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 4, students apply their phonics and high-frequency word knowledge during interactive writing. “Let’s write about the red hens. What could we say?” The teacher calls on students to come up and write words or letters they know (specifically having students practice writing the sight words they know and the short e, as they have just focused on that in the reading). The teacher helps students make connections to previously learned skills. Pictures of the decodable words are displayed to provide visual cues for students' writing. Students say the words slowly and write all the sounds they hear.
  • Students have opportunities to spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of letter-sound relationships. For example:
    • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 4 during the Apply Phonics and Vocabulary in Context lesson, students apply their phonics and high-frequency word knowledge. After reading "I See", students write about the characters Tam and Sam. Students agree on a sentence that will be written about Tam and Sam. Students come to the board and write words or letters they know to complete the sentence. Students say the word slowly and write all the sounds that they hear. The teacher helps them to make a connection with previously learned skills. Pictures of the decodable words are provided for a visual cue as they write.
    • In Unit 9, Week 1, Day 4, students apply their phonics and high-frequency word knowledge during interactive writing. The teacher states,“Let’s write about Mr. Max and his job. What could we say?” The teacher agrees on the sentences that will be written and calls on students to come up and write words or letters they know (specifically having students practice writing the sight words they know and the letters x and z, as they have just focused on that in the reading). The teacher display pictures of the decodable words to provide a visual cue. Students say the words slowly and write all the sounds they hear.

Over the course of the year’s worth of materials, grammar/convention instruction is provided in increasingly sophisticated contexts. For example:

  • In Unit 1, the conventions of English focus on using nouns and verbs.
  • In Unit 2, the conventions of English focus on forming regular plural nouns and understanding and using question words.
  • In Unit 3, the conventions of English focus on capitalization and the production of complete sentences.
  • In Unit 4, the conventions of English focus on the use of prepositions and recognizing and naming ending punctuation.
  • In Unit 5, the conventions of English focus on the use of nouns and verbs.
  • In Unit 6, the conventions of English focus on forming regular plural nouns and understanding and using question words
  • In Unit 7, the conventions of English focus on using prepositions and producing complete sentences.
  • In Unit 8, the conventions of English focus on capitalization and recognizing and naming end punctuation.
  • In Unit 9, the conventions of English focus on expanding complete sentences and understanding and using question words.

Criterion 1o - 1t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectation that materials, questions, and tasks directly teach foundational skills to build reading acquisition by providing systematic and explicit instruction in the alphabetic principle, letter-sound relationships, phonemic awareness, and phonological awareness (K-1), and phonics (K-2) that demonstrate a transparent and research-based progression with opportunities for application both in and out of context. Materials meet expectations that materials, questions, and tasks provide explicit instruction for and multimodal practice to address the acquisition of print concepts including alphabetic knowledge, directionality, and function (K-1), structures and features of text (1-2).Materials meet expectations that instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and gain decoding automaticity and sight-based recognition of high frequency words. Materials, questions, and tasks provide systematic and explicit instruction in and practice of word recognition and analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks. Materials meet the expectations that materials support ongoing and frequent assessment to determine student mastery and inform meaningful differentiation of foundational skills, including a clear and specific protocol as to how students performing below standard on these assessments will be supported. Materials meet the expectation that materials, questions, and tasks providing high-quality learning lessons and activities for every student to reach mastery of foundational skills.

Indicator 1o

Materials, questions, and tasks directly teach foundational skills to build reading acquisition by providing systematic and explicit instruction in the alphabetic principle, letter-sound relations, phonemic awareness, phonological awareness (K-1), and phonics (K-2) that demonstrate a transparent and research-based progression with opportunities for application both in and out of context.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks directly teach foundational skills to build reading acquisition by providing systematic and explicit instruction in the alphabetic principle, letter-sound relationships, phonemic awareness, and phonological awareness (K-1), and phonics (K-2) that demonstrate a transparent and research-based progression for application both in and out of context.

The materials at Kindergarten provide students with multiple opportunities for students to learn phonemic awareness and phonics throughout the school year. The lesson plans contain routines for phonemic awareness and phonics. All phonemic awareness and phonics standards were addressed numerous times over the course of the school year. These skills were primarily addressed in the daily phonics mini-lessons. These lessons provided numerous opportunities for teacher modeling and guided student practice. Students also had the opportunity to apply their phonics/phonemic awareness skills to shared read aloud lessons.

Students have frequent and adequate opportunities to learn and understand phonemes. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 2, during Phonological Awareness: Recognize Rhyme, the teacher says the Humpty Dumpty rhyme. The teacher then repeats the first two lines emphasizing the last word in each line. Students are asked to listen to the words and rhyme. The teacher explains they have the same sound at the end, they both end with -all. The teacher says the third and fourth lines, emphasizing the last word in each line. Students listen for the words that rhyme. The teacher then says word pairs and the students raise their hand if the words rhyme.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 2, during Phonological Awareness: Phoneme Isolation, a picture is shown. The teacher names all of the objects in the picture. The teacher points to the picture of the sun and says the word sun. Students are asked what sound is heard at the beginning of the word. Students point to things in the picture which start with /s/. The teacher then says the word bus and asks what sound is heard at the end of the word. The teacher says six words. If the /s/ is heard at the beginning, students raise their hand and if it is heard at the end of the word, students clap.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 3, during Phonological Awareness: Distinguish Syllables in Spoken Words, students listen to the teacher state a one syllable word. The teacher repeats the word and claps once. It is explained that the word has one part or syllable. The word is repeated and students say the word and clap. The routine is repeated for a two-syllable word. The teacher then says 7 different words and students repeat the word and clap the syllables.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 5, Phonics & Word Study, students practice phoneme substitution with the word pig. “Ask students to listen as you say the word pig, blending the sounds /p/, /iii/, /g/. “I’m going to change the /p/ sound to /b/ and blend the sounds: /b/, /iii/, /g/. What is the new word? Repeat and substitute beginning sounds /d/, /f/, /j/, /r/, and /w/ to form dig, fig, jig, rig, and wig. When we change the first sound, we can make new words.” Display the picture card pan. Have students name the picture. “What is the beginning sound? What is the rest of the word? Let’s blend the sounds and say the word: Now let’s change the first sound to What is the new word?” Repeat and substitute beginning sounds /f/, /m/, /r/, and /t/.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 5, during Phonological Awareness: Blend Onset and Rime, the teacher segments the word cot into its onset and rime. Students blend the sounds and say the word. This is repeated with four more words. Then students identify the onset of cat. Students then name the onset sound of five objects in pictures.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 5, during Phonological Awareness: Phoneme Addition, students are asked to listen as the teacher says the word us, blending the sounds /uuu/ /sss/. Students then listen as the teacher adds the /b/ sound to us to make a new word. The teacher asks what the new word is. This is repeated adding /f/ to it; /b/ to oat; /w/ to in; /s/ to eat; /n/ to ice; /l/ to ate.
  • In Unit 8, Week 2, Day 4, Shared Reading, after reading the poem “Fall,” students practice identifying rhyming words from the poem. The teacher models reading aloud the poem with expression, emphasizing the rhyming words field/peeled and sap/nap. Then students read aloud the poem with the teacher, and students supply the rhyming words.

Lessons and activities provide students adequate opportunities to learn grade-level phonics skills while decoding words. For example:

  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 1, Phonics & Word Study, students practice letter-sound correspondence for the letter Pp. The teacher displays the frieze card Pp. “This is the letter P. The sound is /p/. Say the sound with me, /p/. What is the name of this letter? (p) What sound does stand for? (/p/)” The teacher rereads the poem Pet Parade” and invite students to read. The teacher points to words in the poem that begin with the letter p and states each word aloud. The teacher places the letter card p in the pocket chart and puts picture cards of pen and cup under letter card p. Students help decide if the picture card for pail belongs in the p category. “Pail begins with the /p/ sound, so I will put picture card pail under picture card Pp. Repeat with picture cards map and sheep.”
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 1, Phonics & Word Study, students learn about the sound /eee/ and practice identifying the sound in picture word cards. The teacher displays the card Ee. This is the egg card. The name of this letter is e. The letter e stands for the /eee/ sound. The /eee/ sound is spelled with the letter e. Say the sound with me, /eee/.” The teacher rereads “The Red Hen.” Students help identify words that have /e/.
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, Day 3, Phonics & Word Study, students practice identifying and making new words by changing the first sound in the word zip. Students to listen to the teacher say the word zip. “I’m going to change the /zzz/ sound to /rrr/ and blend the sounds: /rrr/ /iii//p/. What is the new word?” The teacher substitutes beginning sounds /d/, /h/, /l/, /s/, and /t/, to form dip, hip, lip, sip, and tip. “When we change the first sound in a word, we can make new words.”

Materials have a cohesive sequence of phonemic awareness instruction to build toward application. Over the course of 10 units, students practice phonemic awareness skills each day within each unit. Students begin each lesson with a phonemic awareness activity that leads to application on Day 4 of the week. Standards are repeated over the course of the year and continue in a sequence to promote application of skills. Lessons include picture word cards, pocket charts, and shared decodable readers. The lessons have a sequence starting with Unit 1 rhyming words and build in each standard over the course of the year.

Materials have a cohesive sequence of phonics instruction to build toward application. Over the course of 10 units, students practice phonics instruction each day within the focus skill section. In Unit 1, Week 1, students learn to identify the letters of the alphabet. Students then move to a sequence of phonics instruction that introduces a sound each week, as well as practice sounds from previous lessons. The cohesive sequence is as follows over the course of the year: alphabet review, m, short a, s, t, n, short i, f, p, short o, c, h, b, short u, r, short e, g, d, w, l, j, k, y, v/qu, x, long a, long o, long i, long u, long e. Students work toward application of learned phonics skills on Day 4 within each weekly lesson that uses a decodable reader. Students practice letter-sound correspondence, graphemes, and identifying the sounds in words that are spelled similarly. Over the course of the year, standards are revisited to help students move toward mastery and application of grade level phonics. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1 letter recognition for a through z
  • In Unit 1, Week 2 m /m/, Week 3 a /a/
  • In Unit 2, s /s/, t /t/, n /n/
  • In Unit 3, i /i/, f /f/, p /p/
  • In Unit 4, o /o/, c /k/, h /h/
  • In Unit 5, b /b/, u /u/, r /r/
  • In Unit 6, e /e/, g /g/, d /d/
  • In Unit 7, w /w/, l /l/, j /j/
  • In Unit 8, k /k/, y /y/, v /v/, q /kw/
  • In Unit 9, x /ks/, z /z/, long a with final e, long o with final o
  • In Unit 10, long i with final e, long u with final e, long e with final e

Indicator 1p

Materials, questions, and tasks provide explicit instruction for and regular practice to address the acqusition of print concepts, including alphabetic knowledge, directionality, and function (K-1), structures and features of text (1-2).
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks provide explicit instruction for and regular practice to address the acquisition of print concepts, including alphabetic knowledge, directionality, and function (K-1), structures and features of text (1-2).

In Kindergarten, print concepts are frequently taught during shared read aloud lessons and are referenced multiple times over the course of the school year. Teacher modeling, guided practice, and questioning provide students with the opportunity to practice and master print concepts. Letter formation is the focus of the first 20 lessons in Unit 1, listed under Review and Routines. All 52 lowercase and uppercase letters are addressed. The first week of Unit 1 includes recognition of all uppercase and lowercase letters. Units 1-9 include a letter focus. The lessons provide opportunities for students to identify the letter, find the letter in text, and write the letter (all letters addressed except for o and q).

Materials include frequent and adequate lessons and activities for students to learn how to identify and produce letters. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 2, Phonics & Word Study, students practice recognizing the lowercase and uppercase letters f, g, h, i, and j in and out of context. With the letter card, the teacher states: “This is uppercase F. This is the lowercase f.” Then the teacher points to uppercase F. “What is the name of this letter? Yes, it is uppercase.” The teacher points to lowercase f. “What is the name of this letter? Yes, it is lowercase f.” On page 3 in the Pre-Decodable Reader, ABC, the teacher models how to match F and f on the letter cards with F and f in the book. Then the students match the letters. This letter learning routine is repeated with Gg, Hh, Ii, and Jj.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 4, Shared Reading, students learn that words are made up of letters using the shared reading text. The teacher points to the word Garden in the title, and the teacher states: “A word is made up of letters. What is the first letter in the word? What is the last letter in the word?”
  • In Unit 6, Week 2, Day 4, Shared Reading, the teacher discusses capital letters with students in the shared reading poem, “Good, Better, Best.” Students are informed that the first word in each line of a poem often begins with an uppercase letter. The teacher reads aloud the first line in “Good, Better, Best” and points to the uppercase letter G. “The word begins with the uppercase letter because is the first word in this line of the poem. Who can point to another uppercase letter in the poem? Which letter is it? Why is it uppercase?”

Materials include frequent and adequate tasks and questions about the organization of print concepts (e.g. follow words left to right, spoken words correlate to sequences of letters, letter spacing, upper- and lowercase letters). Examples of Print Concept Focus by Unit are:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1: Number of Words, Return Sweep
  • In Unit 1, Week 2: Punctuation, Left to Right Progression
  • In Unit 2, Week 2: First Word, Last Word
  • In Unit 2, Week 3: Uppercase and Lowercase Letters, Words are Separated by Spaces
  • In Unit 3, Week 2: End Punctuation and First, Last Letter in a Word
  • In Unit 3, Week 3: Punctuation in a Title, Left-to-Right Progression
  • In Unit 4, Week 3: Story Title and Beginning of Text, Return Sweep
  • In Unit 5, Week 2: Read Left to Right, Uppercase and Lowercase Letters
  • In Unit 5, Week 3: Punctuation, Words are Separated by Spaces
  • In Unit 6, Week 1: Identify Exclamation Mark, One-to-One Match
  • In Unit 6, Week 3: Title and Beginning of Text, Spoken Words are Represented in Written Language
  • In Unit 7, Week 2: First/Last Letter in a Word
  • In Unit 8, Week 1: Question Mark, Words are Separated by Spaces
  • In Unit 9, Week 3: Punctuation, Space Separates Words
  • In Unit 10, Week 1: Word and Letter Names, Title and Beginning of Text
  • In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 1, Shared Reading, students learn that words are separated by spaces from the shared reading text. The teacher explains to students that the words in a text are separated by spaces. The teacher places a finger on the word No in the title and reads it aloud. Then the teacher points to the space after No. “The space after separates the word from the next word in the title. What is the next word in the title?” The teacher continues to point out or have students identify individual words in the selection.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 1, Shared Reading, students practice left to right reading progression with the shared reading text. The teacher places a finger under A in the first sentence of the story and runs his/her hand under the sentence while reading aloud each word. “Watch carefully as I read the words in the sentence. I will begin with the first word and read from left to right. Which way did I read?”
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 1, Shared Reading, when reading the text, “Cars of the Future” to students, the teacher reminds students that words are separated by spaces. The teacher points to the title of the text and reads it aloud. The teacher points out to students that there is a space between each word. “How many words are in this title?” The teacher reminds students of this skill again in Unit 8, Week 1, Day 4 during a Shared Reading lesson of the text, “A Rainy Day Picnic.” The teacher points out the space between two words in the first sentence of the text. “Who can point to another space between two words?”

Indicator 1q

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and gain decoding automaticity and sight-based recognition of high frequency words. This includes reading fluency in oral reading beginning in mid-Grade 1 and through Grade 2.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria for instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and gain decoding automaticity and sight-based recognition of high frequency words. This includes reading fluency in oral reading beginning in mid Grade 1 and through Grade 2.

Over the course of the school year, high-frequency word instruction, decodable readers and emergent level texts are part of students’ weekly reading routine. This provides students with the decoding and fluency practice to build towards mastery. Students practice reading with the teacher as the model. Students sing, tap, and participate in cloze reads to help develop grade level fluency of emergent reader texts. During Phonics and Word Study mini-lessons, which are included in each five-day sequence in each unit, students have the opportunity to write and read words with the phonics focus and high-frequency word focus. High-frequency words are introduced and/or reviewed on a daily basis. These words are in the weekly decodable reader. Students have multiple opportunities to develop automaticity of grade level words through multiple reads of decodable readers. The materials include a range of early emergent and emergent level texts to use with students in small group instruction each week. Most of the emergent texts contain a teacher’s guide to provide purpose and direction.

Multiple opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to purposefully read emergent-reader texts. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 5, Shared Reading, students practice reading the second stanza of the poem, “Making Bridges,” from the shared reading. “On the second reading, invite students to join in on the second stanza. Remind them to keep going at the end of the line until they finish the sentence.”
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 5, Phonics & Word Study, students reread the decodable text, I am Sam, with a partner. The teacher circulates through the room to listen to students read. Based on the group as a whole, the teacher is to provide general feedback and celebrate successes.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, teachers are provided with the following levels of early emergent and emergent reader level texts to use during small group instruction.
    • Level A - People Use Tools
    • Level B - Let’s Go, Old and New, On the Playground, Schools Then and Now,
    • Level C - Clock Watch, Making a House
    • Level D - Technology Brings Us Together.
  • In Small Group E-book, A Party for Rabbit (Level C/3), students read an emergent text that includes the phonics focus of hard C.
  • In Small Group E-book, A Week of Weather (B/2), students read an emergent text that includes the phonics focus of l/l/. Partners read the story to each other.

Materials support students’ development of automaticity and accuracy of grade-level decodable words over the course of the year. For example:

  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 4, Phonics & Word Study, students encode using the phonics skill they have learned in the unit. The teacher supports students to apply their phonics skills during interactive writing. Students help the teacher write about animals and the girl in the text. “Call on students to come up and write words or letters they know (specifically having students practice writing the sight words they know and the short i sound, as they have just focused on that in the reading).” The teacher shows students pictures of decodable words as a visual cue.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 5, Shared Reading, students practice singing the shared reading poem as a song to help build fluency and automaticity. “Model fluency. Read aloud the poem, encouraging students to join in when they can. Have students stress the rhyming words spout/out and rain/again by saying them in a loud voice.”

Students have opportunities to read and practice high-frequency words. For example:

  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 1, Phonics & Word Study, students are introduced to the high-frequency word she. “Display the high-frequency word card. Point to it and read the word. Point to each letter in the word and have students say the letter name with you. Say the word together. Guide students to name the letter that she begins with. Then say a sentence using the high-frequency word she.”
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 5, Phonics & Word Study, students practice reading and spelling high frequency-words. “High-Frequency Words Review: he, has, is, a Write he, has, is, a. Focusing on one word at a time, have students spell the word as you point to each letter. Then erase one letter, say the word, and have students identify the missing letter. Replace the letter and have students read the word.”
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Day 1, Phonics & Word Study, students are introduced to the word have. The teacher shows the high-frequency word card and uses the following routine: “Point to each letter in the word and have students say the letter name with you. Say the word together. Guide students to name the letter that have begins with.”

Indicator 1r

Materials, questions, and tasks provide systematic and explicit instruction in and practice of word recognition and analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks providing systematic and explicit instruction in and practice of word recognition and analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.

Applying word analysis and word recognition skills to connected texts and tasks is a part of the Kindergarten weekly routine. This is done through the use of weekly decodable readers and shared read-alouds. During shared reading lessons, teachers are frequently provided with “Transfer Skills to Context,” segments that link phonics skills students are working on mastering to the story being read. Decodable readers connect to weekly phonics skills and high-frequency words that are being taught. Students are provided the opportunity during weekly decodable reading lessons to complete an interactive writing activity relating to the story. These writing activities provide students with the opportunity to apply phonics and high-frequency skills to their work.

Materials support students’ development to learn grade-level word recognition and analysis skills in connected text and tasks. For example;

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 5, Phonics & Word Study, students blend sounds to read decodable text. Students blend the word Sam. The teacher places letter cards S, a, m in a pocket chart, and points to each letter stating the phonemes. Students help blend the sounds with the teacher.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 4, Shared Reading, students practice one-to-one correspondences in their shared reading story. “Tell students that the words printed in a story match the words that you say when you read aloud. Read aloud the first sentence of the story as you point to each word. Then have students point to words in other sentences. Who can point to the words in this sentence as I read it aloud?”
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 5, Shared Reading, students practice identifying the short e sound in the shared reading text. “Remind students that they are learning about short e in words. Point to the name Jen in the story and have students read the word with you.”
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Day 5, Phonics & Word Study, students blend, spell, and decode words with long a_e. Students blend the word cape. “Place letter cards c, a, p, e in a pocket chart. Point to the letter c. “This is the letter c. The letter c stands for /k/. Say /k/. The letters a and e work together and stand for /aaa/. Say /aaa/. This is the letter p.The letter p stands for /p/. Say /p/. Listen as I blend the three sounds together /kaaap/. Now blend the sounds to read the word, cape.” Next, students blend and read tape.

Materials provide frequent opportunities to read high-frequency words in connected text and tasks. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 5, Phonics & Word Study, students have the opportunity to read high-frequency words. “Write I, like, the, we. Focusing on one word at a time, have students spell the word as you point to each letter. Then erase one letter, say the word, and have students identify the missing letter. Replace the letter and have students read the word. Have partners reread I Am Sam together.”
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 4, Phonics & Word Study, students practice reading high-frequency words from the decodable reader that they practiced in previous lessons that week.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, Day 5, Phonics & Word Study, students have the opportunity to read and write high-frequency words. “Write the words. Focusing on one word at a time, have students spell the word as you point to each letter. Then without students seeing, erase one letter, say the word, and have students identify the missing letter. Replace the letter and have students read the word. Write the words and sentences. Guide students with blending the words. Then have volunteers read the sentences.” Partners reread Time to Tug.

Lessons and activities provide students many opportunities to learn grade-level word recognition and analysis skills while encoding in context and decoding words in connected text and tasks. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 4, Phonics & Word Study, students use the phonics skills and high-frequency words they learn in the lesson to write about the decodable reader. “Support students to apply their phonics and high-frequency word knowledge during interactive writing. Let’s write about Tam and Sam. What could we say?”
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 3, Shared Reading, students practice spelling high-frequency words from the shared reading text, “New Friends.” The text contains two high-frequency words students have learned. “Point to the word ‘the’ in the second sentence of the story. Pronounce the word and have students repeat it after you. Spell the word as you point to each letter and have students spell and read the word. Repeat with like in the last sentence of the story.”
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Day 5, Phonics & Word Study, students have the opportunity to decode and encode using the phonics focus of short u. Students blend the word hut. Have students place the following letter cards on their desks: c, t, u. Then have them blend and read the word cut with you. Partners reread Go Up, Up, Up.

Indicator 1s

Materials support ongoing and frequent assessment to determine student mastery and inform meantingful differentiantion of foundational skills, including a clear and specific protocol as to how students performing below standard on these assessments will be supported.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials supporting ongoing and frequent assessment to determine student mastery and inform meaningful differentiation of foundational skills, including a clear and specific protocol as to how students performing below standard on these assessments will be supported.

Materials provide students with multiple assessment opportunities over the course of the year that allow students to demonstrate progress towards mastery as well as provide teachers with feedback for instructional adjustments. Teachers are provided with a resource map they can use based on how students perform on the quick checks. The map directs teachers to specific lessons to use with students who struggled to pass a given quick check. Teachers are provided with informal and formal assessment materials within the core reading program. Assessments include a pre- and post- assessments, foundational skills screeners, weekly assessments, unit assessments, interim assessments, and weekly informal assessments of foundational skills taught within that week.

Weekly informal and formal assessment opportunities directly correlate with the standard focus for that week. Many of these are observational in Kindergarten and the program provides checklists to support this. The checklists show a student’s strengths and needs. Each week there is a chart to reference specific re-teaching lessons to support foundational skills included as a link in the Mini-Lessons at a Glance. These Lessons are labeled Reteaching/Intervention Lessons. These lessons give guidance to teachers to support students performing below grade-level standard for the week’s Shared Reading Mini-Lessons as well as the Phonological Awareness and Phonics Mini-Lessons. Unit assessments provide additional opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress towards mastery of the foundational skills taught within the given unit and directly correlate to the standards taught over the course of the unit. There are Language Development Assessment materials that help teachers to determine the language proficiency level of their students in different domains. There are instructional suggestions in the units that address how to differentiate for students within these levels.

Multiple assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year in the core materials for students to demonstrate progress toward mastery and independence of foundational skills. For example:

  • Weekly assessments of foundational skills are provided in the Assessments portion of the Core Materials, examples include:
    • In Unit 1, Week 2, students complete a foundational skills assessment on initial and final /m/ and high frequency words.
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, students complete a foundational skills assessment on initial /s/ and high frequency words.
    • In Unit 8, Week 2, students complete a foundational skills assessment on initial /y/ and high frequency words.
  • Each unit contains an End of Unit assessment that assesses the foundational skills taught within the unit, examples include:
    • Unit 4, End of Unit Assessment: Reading Foundational Skills Questions-Say: “Now turn to the next page. I am going to ask some more questions. Find the picture of the spoon. Look at the words in the row. Find the word pot . . . pot. Draw a circle around the word.”
    • Unit 8, End of Unit Assessment: Reading Foundational Skills Questions-Say: “Now turn to the next page. I am going to ask some more questions. Find the picture of the spoon. Look at the words in the row. Find the word Kim . . . Kim. Draw a circle around the word.”
  • Teachers are provided with quick check assessment materials. These assess phonological awareness, print concepts, fluency, phonics, and word recognition. These manuals are to guide teachers in deciding when to implement interventions for their students. If a teacher decides that intervention is needed, intervention manuals are provided.
  • Interim Assessments are taken throughout the year. Interim Assessment 1 is taken twice; once at the beginning of the year as a pretest and then again as a posttest. Interim Assessment 2 is based on the standards taught in Units 1-3. Interim Assessment 3 is based on the standards taught in Units 1-6.

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with information of students’ current skills/level of understanding. For example:

  • Through the use of weekly observational checklists, assessments, and unit assessments, teachers are up-to date on how their students are performing over the course of the school year. When it comes to analyzing student scores, teachers are informed in the Assessment Overview Guide, “A score of 90–100 percent correct is excellent; 80–89 percent is good;70–79 percent is proficient. Anything below 70 percent would merit further analysis, which could indicate a need for additional instruction in the following week or in following units. A score below 50 percent could indicate a need for reteaching before the student moves to the next week or unit.”
  • Individual Reading Retelling Rubric provides the teacher with information of what the students’ instructional needs are to provide an oral or written retelling of what has been read.
  • Anecdotal notes are the observations teachers made. On page 3 of Grade K-6 Informal Assessments, it is suggested teachers analyze these to inform instructional moves.
  • Teachers are provided with a weekly outline to record observations of students’ progress toward mastery of the foundational skills and frequency words taught that week and record any additional notes.
  • In the Informal Assessments portion of the Core Reading materials, teachers are provided with checklists to help observe student growth throughout the year. “Use these assessment tools periodically throughout the year to record observations and notations of student growth.”
  • Section 2 provides a “Concepts About Print Assessment” about students’ print concept understanding.
  • Section 3 provides a “Assessing Reading Phrasing/Fluency, Intonation, Pace, and Accuracy” informal assessment.
  • Teachers are provided with Foundational Skills Screeners to monitor students’ proficiency. The assessments in Foundational Skills Screeners are organized by level and by skill. The levels indicated in each screener do not make an explicit grade-level connection, so teachers can administer the screener level that is appropriate for each student. Each screener level includes five or six skill-specific mini-assessments. The assessments include the following skill areas:
    • Letter Recognition
    • Consonants
    • Phonological Awareness
    • Letter Sounds
    • Vowels
    • Word Recognition
    • Word Study Skills
    • Print Concepts
  • On page 6 of the Kindergarten Weekly and Unit Assessment resource book, it is explained how the information from the weekly assessments should be used. They are to be used as a guide to support the teacher in providing students more time or help. Materials support teachers with instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery in foundational skills. For example:
    • Kindergarten Foundational Skills Screeners are assessments to provide a general proficiency in letter recognition, phonological awareness, letter sounds, word recognition and print concepts. If a student scores 100% - 81%, the student is on or above grade level and intervention is not necessary. If a student scores 80%-65% the student is meeting grade-level expectations and more focused instruction in a specific skill area may be needed. If a student scores 64% and below, extra instruction and intervention are needed. Teachers are asked to refer to foundational lessons in the core program and in the Reader’s Theater Handbook.
  • Teachers are provided with Interim Assessments to help make instructional adjustments, including a pre and post test. Examples include:
    • Interim Assessment 1: Reading Foundational Skills Questions- “Find the picture of the spoon. Look at the letters in the row. Find the letter B. Draw a circle around the letter b.”
    • Interim Assessment 2: Reading Foundational Skills Questions- “Find the picture of the spoon. Look at the words in the row: bat, bats, bit. Which word’s ending means “more than one”? Draw a circle around the word.”
  • Fluency, Phonics and Word Recognition, Print Concepts and Phonological Awareness intervention manuals are provided for teachers to use with students. Lessons state a clear learning goal, provide teacher modeling and student practice. A formative assessment box is also provided in these lessons for teachers to evaluate student learning and decide if further intervention is needed. In the introduction portion of the quick check manuals, teachers are told that if a student scores between 80-100% on the quick check, “Move on to the next Quick Check or skill.” If a student scores between 66-80% - “Consider administering the Quick Check again. Continue monitoring the student during future quick checks.” If a student scores below 66% - “Use additional resources shown in the Resource Map to provide the student with opportunities to remediate skills.” Examples include:
    • In the Print Concepts Intervention Manual in Lesson 4 for the skill, “Demonstrate an Understanding that Words are Made up of Letters,” the learning goal is, “Today we will learn how words are made up of letters.” The teacher then demonstrates spelling out the word “cat”. Students then practice taking apart the word “cat” and building the word “man.” Teachers are then provided with two formative assessment questions they can use to evaluate students’ learning and additional reteaching opportunities to use if students did not understand the skil
  • The Resource Map is a separate document that lists a skill, the quick check used to assess that skill and then a grade level appropriate lesson that could be used as intervention to address that skill. For example, in Kindergarten for the skill - Letter Identification, there are two quick checks 1 (p.2) and 2 (p.3) that the teacher can use. If the student needs intervention the teacher is directed to, “See Benchmark Advance Print Concepts Intervention Grade K Lesson 7: Recognize and Name all Uppercase and Lowercase Letters of the Alphabet. (p. 14)”

In Unit 2, Week 1, Phonics Mini-Lessons include phoneme isolation s/s/, blending on-set and rhyme, high-frequency words: we, the, I, like. Also spelling words are: the, we. The Reteaching/Intervention lessons for the week include:

  • Phoneme Isolation: PA Lesson 6-7, 10, pp. 12-15, 20-21 PA QC #7-8, 19-20, pp. 8-9, 20-21s (initial) PWR Lesson 2, pp. 4-5PWR QC #17-18, pp. 18-19.
  • Recognize and Produce Rhyme: PA Lesson 1-3, pp. 2-7PA QC #3-4, pp. 2-5.
  • Blend Onset and Rhyme: PA Lesson 8, pp. 16-17PA QC #9-10, pp. 10-11.
  • s (initial): PWR Lesson 2, pp. 4-5; PWR QC #17-18, pp. 18-19

In Unit 5, Week 2, Phonics Mini-Lessons include phoneme isolation u/u/, distinguishing syllables in spoken words, phoneme addition, and the high-frequency words: with, big, you. Reteaching/Intervention lessons for the week include:

  • Phoneme Isolation: PA Lesson 6-7, 10, pp. 12-15, 20-21 PA QC #7-8, 19-20, pp. 8-9, 20-21
  • Distinguish Syllables in Spoken Words: PA Lesson 9, 13, pp. 18-19, 26-27; PA QC #17-18, 25-27, pp. 18- 19, 26-28
  • Recognize and Produce Rhyme: PA Lesson 1-3, pp. 2-7; PA QC #3-4, pp. 2-5
  • Phoneme Addition PA Lesson 13, pp. 26-27PA QC #29-30, pp. 30-31
  • Short u (initial):PWR Lesson 32, pp. 64-65; PWR QC #75-76, pp. 76-77
  • Short u (medial): PWR Lesson 37, pp. 74-75; PWR QC #75-76, pp. 76-77
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Phonics Mini-Lessons include phoneme isolation (long o with final -e), distinguishing syllables in spoken words, phoneme addition, phoneme blending, phoneme substitution, and the high-frequency words: to, my, of, what, look, me, come, here. Reteaching/Intervention lessons for the week include:
  • Phoneme Isolation: PA Lesson 6-7, 10, pp. 12-15, 20-21; PA QC #7-8, 19-20, pp. 8-9, 20-21
  • Phoneme Blending: PA Lesson 14, pp. 28-29; PA QC #25-26, pp.26-27
  • Phoneme Addition: PA Lesson 13, pp. 26-27; PA QC #29-30, pp. 30-31
  • Distinguish Syllables in Spoken Words: PA Lesson 9, 13, pp. 18-19, 26-27; PA QC #17-18, 25-27, pp. 18- 19, 26-28
  • Phoneme Substitution: PA Lesson 9, 13, pp. 18-19, 26-27; PA QC #17-18, 25-27, pp. 18- 19, 26-28Long o (o-e): PWR Lesson 40, pp. 80-81; PWR QC #81-82, pp. 82-83

Indicator 1t

Materials, questions, and tasks provide high-quality lessons and activities that allow for differentiation of foundational skills.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks providing high-quality lessons and activities that allow for differentiation of foundational skills.

For each unit, there are different leveled texts used for small group lessons. These texts include foundational skills lessons, so that all students can practice foundational skills in context. For each unit, there are Reader’s Theater activities that allow students at different levels to have access to the high-frequency words and the opportunity to read text for a purpose. There are intervention lessons for fluency, phonics and word recognition, phonological awareness, and print concepts to support all students in mastery of foundational skills.

The materials do provide high-quality learning lessons and activities for students to reach mastery of foundational skills. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 2, Phonics & Word Study, students use a Poetry Poster to identify pictures that start with the /aaa/ sound. “Show students the picture on the back of the poetry poster and have them name all the objects in the picture. Point to the ax in the picture and say the word ax.”
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, Day 1, Phonics & Word Study, the student objectives are, “I will be able to: Isolate initial /v/. Practice letter-sound correspondences. Read previously taught high-frequency words.” The teacher is then provided with clear instructions for teaching the lesson. Teacher modeling even includes scripts the teacher can follow. “This is the vest card. The sound is spelled with the letter. Say the sound with me. This is the sound at the beginning of the word. What is the name of this letter? (v) What sound does this letter stand for? (/vvv/)”

Materials provide guidance to teachers for scaffolding and adapting lessons and activities to support each student’s needs. For example:

    • Included with each unit is a Differentiated Instruction Planner. This includes different ideas for teachers to use throughout the unit to meet all of their students needs. Examples include:
    • Unit-Specific Leveled Texts for Differentiated Instruction - “Group students by instructional level to support their reading development. Use the lesson-specific Teacher’s Guide and Text Evidence Question Card for each title.”
    • Readers Theater - “Group students heterogeneously for multi-leveled reader’s theater experiences that build fluency and comprehension”
    • Intervention - “Select appropriate intervention lessons based on data from your weekly, unit and interim assessments as well as informal assessments.”
  • Teachers are also provided with a list of Independent and Collaborative activity options for each unit. Examples include:
    • Read Collaboratively - “Engage students in one or more of the following fluency-building activities, including: partner reading of previously read leveled texts. Partner or trio listening and reading along to an e-book. Small-group rehearsal of Unit 2 Reader’s Theater scripts.”
  • Teachers are also provided with “Integrated ELD” boxes throughout the school year. These boxes contain light support, moderate support and substantial support ideas to use with students. The directions given in these boxes are very explicit, clear and easy for teachers to follow. Examples include:
    • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 5, when students are working on the /o/ sound, these are the directions the teacher is given for light support, “Write the letters m, n, o, p, and t on the board. Remind students that they have made the words pot,mop, top, and on from these letters. Review blending those words. Tell students you want to blend the word not. Have them choose the letters and tell you how to spell the word. Blend the word with them. Then challenge students to use all five words in a sentence that also contains a preposition.”
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 4, Phonics & Word Study, teachers are provided with information on how to monitor student reading of the pre-decodable text. “ Monitor Student Reading of Connected Text-As students read the pre-decodable text together, ask these questions: Are students able to . . . blend and read s words in the text? read new high-frequency words with automaticity? demonstrate comprehension of the text by collaborating to write a message? Based on your observations, you may wish to support students’ fluency, automaticity, and comprehension with additional decodable reading practice during intervention time.”

Students have multiple practice opportunities within each grade level foundational skill component in order to reach mastery. For example:

  • Over the course of the year, foundational skills are taught primarily in the Phonics & Word Study portion of the whole group materials. Each week addresses a new foundational skill with opportunities to apply to context on Day 4 and spiral review on Day 5. Skills are taught daily and reviewed in and out of context. Lessons include a focus skill and student objectives. Students also review and apply frequency words from the decodable reader each week.
  • Grade level foundational skills are repeatedly taught and reviewed in lessons over the course of the school year. These skills are primarily taught in the daily phonics mini-lessons. Each week, there is a focus skill that students will practice each day that week through a variety of phonics activities. Examples include:
    • In Unit 7, Week 1, the focus skill for the week is the /w/ sound. Each day that week students complete various phoneme isolation and blending activities related to the skill. On Day 4 of that week students read the decodable reader story, Win! Win! Win that uses the /w/ sound.
  • Students also have multiple practice opportunities with their high-frequency words. These are reviewed and/or introduced on a daily basis. These words also often appear in the weekly decodable reader. For example, in Unit 2, Week 2, Day 2 the teacher introduces the high-frequency word “go” and then reviews with students the previously taught words, “I, like, the, we, see.”

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

Kindergarten instructional materials partially meet expectations for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. The instructional materials partially support the building of knowledge through repeated practice with appropriate grade-level complex text organized a topic. Academic vocabulary is addressed in each module. There is partial evidence of the materials providing coherently sequenced questions and tasks to support students in developing literacy skills. Culminating tasks partially meet the criteria for requiring students to read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts while students participate in a volume of reading to build knowledge. Materials 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.

Criterion 2a - 2h

Materials build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language.
26/32

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics to build students knowledge and vocabulary which will over time support and help grow students' ability to comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten partially meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics to build students knowledge and vocabulary which will, over time, support and help grow students’ ability to comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

Each three week unit contains shared reading, mentor reading and extended reading texts covering a variety of genres related to an essential question which sometimes focuses on a topic and other times focuses on a genre or issue.

Examples of text sets that are not centrally focused on units to build knowledge include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, the Essential Question is “How are characters different?” Students listen to a mentor read aloud titled, “Every Story Has Characters.” Students engage in peer conversations about the story, “New Friends,” a short poem about a boy who just moved to a small town.
  • In Unit 4, the Essential Question is, “Why do people tell stories?” Students listen to read aloud stories, “Pat’s Amazing Pet,” Higgety, Piggety, Pop,” and “Come out and Play.” The topic of each story is about animals and why people enjoy having pets in their home. The culminating task requires students to reflect on the unit topic and complete a group project in which they discuss the essential question and their understanding of why pets are so important to people.
  • In Unit 6, the Essential Question is, “How do we know what is right?” Students listen to the read aloud, “Stories Have a Message.” It discusses the importance of why stories are around and how they can help us learn something. In Week 1, Day 3, students listen to the short story, “Crow Learns A Lesson.” The story focuses on a fox who tricks a crow into giving him the cheese. Students discuss the difference between right and wrong and whether the fox’s actions were right or wrong.

While these units explore literary themes, they do not focus on the topical knowledge-building called for in the standards.

Units that focus on topics include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 8, the Essential Question is, “How do our lives change with the season?” Students watch a video of a short story, “Weather and Seasons,” in the unit opener. During Week 3, Day 4, students listen to the read aloud, “Snow City,” which helps students understand that snow can have a positive and a negative impact on someone. Students learn about the changing seasons through read alouds titled, “A Yellow Mitten” and “How Is the Weather.”
  • In Unit 10, the Essential Question is, “What makes things move?” Students listen to stories centered around gadgets and other causes of movement, such as, “How Many Ways Can We Move?” and “What Makes A Soccer Ball Fly?”

Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.

Mentor Read-Alouds, Shared Reading, and Extended Reads provide opportunities for students to analyze words/phrases and or author’s word choice according to grade level standards. Tables and charts are created to help students determine word meaning in various ways. Texts are used for comprehension strategies like key ideas and details, structure, and craft according to grade level standards. By the end of the year, components like language, word choice, key ideas, details,structure, and craft are embedded in students’ work rather than taught directly. Each three week unit focuses on an Essential Question that combines direct instruction with independent practice of skills.

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Day 2, students learn to analyze the author’s reasons. The teacher models analyzing chapter titles and the author’s reasons. “The title of this chapter is the author’s statement. She wants readers to know that rules keep you safe. The first sentence in the chapter gives an example, or reason.” During Guided Practice, students help identify the author’s statement and her reasons supporting the statement. For Show Your Knowledge, students tell a partner one reason that supports the statement: “Rules Help You Learn.”
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 3, Shared Reading of the “Sad Ladybug, Bad Ladybug,” the teacher helps students to visualize another way that Pam could have gotten home and to talk with their peers about this. Later in the lesson, students discuss how Pam helped the ladybug get home. With the Mentor Read 2 text, “The Little Helper,” students make inferences based on the information read in the story. Students answer questions such as: “‘The author says the ‘mouse trembled and shook.’ How does this help you understand about how the mouse feels? Why does the lion laugh after the mouse says he can help the lion one day?”
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 4, Mentor Read 2, with “The Spider And The Deer,” the teacher utilizes a 4-column table for identifying a new meaning of a familiar word such as right, well, and spun. On the same day, the mentor read-aloud is used for students to write about the setting of the story. The strategy supports students’ understanding of the text by recalling the details of where events in the text occur. Student work for this day includes an independent writing task.
  • In Unit 6, Week 2, Day 2, students analyze The Three Little Pigs to determine central theme based on text evidence. The teacher asks a Text Evidence Question: “What happens to the first little pig’s house of straw? Why?” The teacher models using text evidence to identify a key detail that can lead to the central message. During Guided Practice, students help contribute text evidence to answer: “What happens to the second little pig’s house of sticks? Why?” During Share Your Knowledge, students are called on to share the central message using what they learned from the key details. The teacher can prompt with the following question: “What lesson did the three little pigs learn?”
  • In Unit 7, Week 3, Day 2, students analyze In My Opinions...These Are the Best Ways to Celebrate Holidays to identify Author’s Purpose. The teacher models using a Text Based Question to practice looking for reasons an author gives her opinion: “What reason does the author give as the best way to celebrate Earth Day?” During Guided Practice, students help answer the following Text Evidence Question to determine the author’s purpose: “What reason does the author give for the best way to celebrate Independence Day?”
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, Day 2, in the mentor-read aloud, “Balto The Sled Dog”, students analyze illustrations in the text to give meaning to words read in the text. The reading comprehension strategy for the text includes creating a chart to help make meaning from illustrations and words in the reading. Students also write a letter pointing out how looking at the illustrations help them to make meaning from the reading. Conferring and monitoring prompts are provided to help teachers in gauging student progress with the tasks assigned.

Indicator 2c

Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

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

The materials for Grade K contain many coherent questions and tasks that support students’ development in analysis of knowledge and ideas as well as providing opportunities for students to analyze across multiple texts as well as within single texts, but texts are often focused on basic understanding of the texts and not on building knowledge.

Examples of text-based questions and tasks that do not necessarily build knowledge include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 2, Shared Reading, the text, “Follow the Rules to Play Soccer” is echo read. During Collaborative Conversation: Ask & Answer Questions, students work to define “good sport” using examples from the text based on the question: “What does it mean to be a good sport?” On Day 3, During Collaborative Conversation: Ask & Answer Questions, students discuss: “Why is it important to follow the rules when we play a game or a sport?”
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 1, Extended Read 1 Mini-Lesson, students listen to the story, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. After the text is read, students participate in Collaborative Conversation: Partners. Students tell each other a key event they remember from the text. Students share out key events and the teacher documents the key events in a Key Events Chart. During Show Your Knowledge, students act out a story event. On Day 2, students identify and describe characters from Goldilocks and the Three Bears and students provide an answer for: “What do we know about Goldilocks from the text?” On Day 3, students identify Story Events for the text. During Guided Practice, students answer: “What major events happen to Goldilocks and the three bears in the middle of the story?” On Day 4, students find evidence for describing story characters. Students respond to: “How do you think Goldilocks feels when she eats Baby Bear’s porridge?” In Show Your Knowledge, describe Baby Bear using details from the illustration. On Day 5, students compare and contrast characters from two texts: “The Little Helper and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
  • In Unit 6, Week 2, Day 1, students listen to the text, “A New Hat for Hen.” During Collaborative Conversations: Make Connections, students share text-to-text connections and text-to-world connections. The teacher asks: “Which other stories does “A New Hat for Hen” remind you of? What do you think people would say if they saw a real chicken wearing a hat?” On Day 3, Students make connections about the text regarding Hen and whether the hat is the right choice for a hen: “Do you think she did the right thing by taking the time to try on 100 hats? Why or why not?

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).
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Grade 1 partially meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g., combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

The materials for Grade 1 contain tasks that integrate knowledge and ideas from the provided sources. Culminating tasks support students’ ability to demonstrate their integrated skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) but tasks don't consistently show students' building knowledge.

During Day 5 of Weeks 1 and 2, students compare and contrast aspects of two of the texts read aloud during the week. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Day 5 students listen to “Let’s Play by the Rules!” and “What Are Some Rules at School?” Students compare and contrast the two texts using the Compare and Contrast Chart and share answers with a partner.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 5, students compare and contrast an informational text (“Up, Up, and Away”) and a story (“1, 2, 3, Blast Off!”). The teacher displays a Venn Diagram and models how to compare and contrast texts. During Guided Practice, students contribute ideas to the Venn Diagram. To check student understanding, the teacher names elements from either selection or both selections and asks students to tell if the element occurs in both selections or only one selection.
  • In Unit 10, Week 2, Day 5, students compare and contrast two texts (“The True Story of Balto, the Sled Dog” and Forces) read over the week. Students watch the teacher model comparing and contrasting with a Compare and Contrast Chart. During Guided Practice, students compare and contrast the images, organization, and content of the texts. To close, the teacher asks students to use the sentence frames: “These texts are the same because…. These texts are different because….”

During Day 5 of Week 3, students participate in Reflect on Unit Concepts, which provides students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills. For example:

  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 5, the teacher engages students’ thinking by stating: “Over the past three weeks, we have read and listened to many stories and poems. What do you remember about these stories?” Students converse in a whole-group conversation. Next the teacher reads aloud the Essential Question: “Why do people tell stories?” Students view the short video shown at the beginning of the unit. Students participate in Collaborative Conversation: Peer Group. Students discuss the Essential Question. During Share, each group’s spokesperson shares the group’s answer. The teacher records students answers on an anchor chart. Each group is asked to choose a favorite story to retell and act out for the class. The teacher records the performance. Students are to explain why they selected the story and can use the following sentence frame: “We chose this story because….” The reason should connect to the Essential Question.
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, Day 5, the teacher engages students’ thinking by stating: “Over the past three weeks, we have read and listened to realistic fiction, folktales, and poems about how we know what is right. What are some things you remember from the selections?” Students recall and retell information from the texts. Next the teacher reads aloud the Essential Question: “How do we know what is right?” Students view the short video shown at the beginning of the unit. Students participate in Collaborate Conversation: Peer Group. Students discuss the Essential Question. During Share, each group’s spokesman shares the group’s answer. The teacher records students’ answers on an anchor chart. Each group is to select a favorite story and talk about the text’s message. Student take the parts of the characters and act out the message. The teacher is to assist the students in making a video that demonstrates the story’s message.

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten 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.

The vocabulary instruction for Kindergarten provides opportunities for students to learn academic vocabulary in Shared, Mentor, and Extended Texts. Additionally, vocabulary is reinforced through activities completed in the Grammar, Spelling and Vocabulary Workbook. Throughout each unit, students read, write, illustrate, manipulate, and complete fill-in the blank prompts for practice and to gain competency with learned vocabulary words. Materials provide teacher guidance on the unit opener page for each unit. Routines, procedures, and lessons guide the appropriate use of vocabulary used in each unit. Vocabulary is repeated in contexts and across multiple texts. Attention is given to essential vocabulary supporting students comprehension of texts. Students are supported to accelerate vocabulary learning with vocabulary in their reading, speaking, and writing tasks.

Vocabulary lessons highlight the most relevant vocabulary words aimed at building knowledge of the unit topic and support comprehension. To support students’ understanding of complex texts, the following vocabulary words and mini-lessons are targeted. Opportunities to interact and build vocabulary include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 5, the vocabulary word sea is introduced as it is repeated throughout the poem, “Making Bridges.” The teacher provides the definition of the word and shows the different seas on a globe. The teacher discusses informational texts, and comparing and contrasting, providing the elements of each with a brief definition.
  • In Unit 2, students hear the story, “The Tortoise and the Hare” and work with the following words: laughed and shouted. In the text “The Little Helper,” the key vocabulary words are crawled, raced, roared, cried, and laughed. There are three related vocabulary words across multiple texts including, whispered, walked and skipped.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 2, students hear “Come Out and Play” and Who’s in the Shed? The vocabulary words focused on during this story are words with -ed endings including neighed and grunted. Students work with the -ed ending in order to understand the past tense version of a word and build on this activity later by writing about the ending of the story using -ed words.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Day 3, students learn to identify new meanings for familiar words. The words touched on in this lesson are fall, watch, light, well, and running. During Guided Practice, the students help identify the meaning of the target word from Technology at Home & School: Past and Present. In Show Your Knowledge, students identify the meaning of tag based on the sentence it is read aloud in.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 3, students hear the story, “A House for Max.” During this story students are exposed to the key vocabulary: small, indoors, and sunny. In Week 2, Day 3, students hear, The Three Little Pigs, and interact with 14 different vocabulary words across multiple pages including, huffed, slammed, little, inside and quiet.
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, Day 2, students learn to use context clues to figure out the meaning of needs, wants, shelter, and afford. In Week 1, Day 3, students learn to use antonyms. In Week 3, Day 2, students sort words (uniforms, helmets, lights, sirens, jackets, hoses, ladders) from the text “Firefighters at Work” into categories of either Firefighter’s Gear or Truck Parts.

Indicator 2f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten meet the criteria that materials contain a year long, cohesive plan of writing instruction and tasks which support students in building and communicating substantive understanding of topics and texts.

The Benchmark Universe materials include support for Kindergarten students’ writing instruction for a whole year’s worth of instruction engaging students with the grade level writing standards. Writing lessons, tasks, and projects authentically integrate with reading, speaking, listening, and language. Writing tasks and projects are varied and include learning, practice, and application of writing skills. The teacher materials provide models, protocols, and plans to support implementation of the writing tasks, projects, and supports as well as guidance or support for pacing of writing over shorter and extended periods of time appropriate to the grade level. Examples of materials containing a year long, cohesive plan of writing include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 3, students focus on writing a new ending to the classic story, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The teacher informs students that they will write a new ending and models how a new ending might look like. To support students writing, students orally rehearse ideas of the story ending with a partner. Students are provided time to write a new ending independently. During that time, the teacher is to confer and monitor prompts to help gauge whether students understand the task. Additionally, a Build Language: Understand and Use Question Words section is included for support to teachers as they confer and monitor.
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 2, students use the story Ungalala to plan a narrative writing piece. The teacher prompts students to imagine what is happening in the beginning of the writing and what is happening now.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Day 3, students write a connection made between the photographs and the text Technology at Home and School: Past and Present. Before doing any independent writing, the teacher models how to do this through a shared writing activity. The teacher conducts a think-aloud to demonstrate what the expectation is before students share ideas with a partner and independently write. After the think-aloud, students will select a picture from the text and tell a partner “how it helps to understand and connect to text.” Students draw or write to the prompt and share writing with a partner.
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, Day 1, students work on an informative writing piece by revising the informative text written the day before. Students are utilizing details from the story, One Snowy Day, and revise writing by adding one more fact from the story.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Day 2, students work on finding text evidence related to identifying a problem-solution text structure in the story Munching Millie. Using the text evidence question, “What is the problem in the story that the children have to solve?” the teacher will model how to answer the question using text evidence. Once done with this, the teacher then takes the students through guided practice to answer the text evidence question, “What solution does Dad have to the problem?”
  • In Unit 10, Week 2, Day 3 students write an informational text about the stories, “Force,” and Motion.” Students use the text evidence in order to write known facts from the stories.

Indicator 2g

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

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

Benchmark Universe Materials includes shared research and writing projects to encourage students to develop knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials. In the core materials, students have opportunities to participate in shared writing tasks. Shared research is found in the Connect Across Disciplines Inquiry Projects section. The teacher will have to provided the resources for research in Connect Across Disciplines Inquiry Projects. Research skills require students to focus on a routine of investigation, creating, presentation, reflection, and responding. Each unit includes three Connect Across Disciplines inquiry projects. Most require a week to complete, and some extend beyond a week’s time. Over the course of a year, tasks within the inquiry project routines increase in the depth and difficulty of assigned tasks. Teachers do have to use and provide supplemental resources, such as websites, books, and pictures. A recommended trade books tab gives teachers additional books to potentially use and incorporate throughout the specific unit of study. Materials also provide opportunities for students to apply reading, writing, speaking and listening in addition to language skills for students to synthesize and analyze grade level readings.

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 2, students write an opinion about why the author Brenda Parkes wrote the book Rules Are Cool. The teacher does a modeled writing activity. Students share an opinion about why Brenda Parkes wrote the book before writing. Students independently write an opinion using either writing or drawing. After the teacher models how to share writing, students share writing with the class.
  • In Unit 2, Connect Across the Disciplines Inquiry Projects, students make a puppet representing a worker in the project called “Make a ‘Worker’ Puppet.” As a short project, students may create multiple puppets over the span of a week. Students complete the project by using the puppets to provide a description to peers of the worker’s job. Teachers provide picture books or websites about jobs people do. The website kids.gov is given as a suggestion for online materials to utilize. Materials to create puppets are provided by teachers and include paper bags, craft supplies, paper, scissors, tape/glue. There is the opportunity for the teacher to refer to reading materials used through weeks within the units and support the synthesis and analysis of learning acquired through the units’ reading lessons. Students discuss other types of jobs held at school aside from a teacher and books from the week’s reading help to provide descriptions of jobs people do.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 1 Shared Writing Mini-Lesson, students engage in shared writing and then select a photo from the book “What do Plants Need?” and write how the photo helps to understand and connect to the text. Students share ideas about how the picture helps to understand and connect to the text before writing. Students write on this piece during this time.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Day 2, students write to compare and contrast two pictures in the story, Technology at Home & School: Past and Present. The teacher conducts a think-aloud and shared writing before students are asked to write. Students share writing with the class and offer suggestions to others about word choice.
  • In Unit 8, Connect Across the Disciplines Inquiry Projects, students can begin a month long inquiry project called “Make a Weather Calendar” to make a weather calendar to show the month’s weather and to learn to predict how weather changes over a period of a month. Students look at weather forecasts and newsprint to make predictions over a period of a month and record findings in whole group discussion using weather symbols to add to a class chart. Teachers provide printed newspapers and televised new reports from which students obtain information. Additional materials are blank paper, markers and crayons. Students notice patterns in weather, follow rules for discussions, and respond to a variety of questions.
  • In Unit 10, Connect Across the Disciplines Inquiry Projects, students can participate in “Make an Alphabet Book about Motion.” Student are to look at picture books and websites showing objects moving and describe the pictures. Then students create an alphabet book that shows how things move. Directions are provided to the teacher as to how to make the books.

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Benchmark Kindergarten 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.

Benchmark Universe materials provide the opportunity for students to read independently throughout the school year. The materials include a resource in Program Support titled, “Managing Your Independent Reading Program,” which details the expectations for teachers and students to be reading both in class and independently at home. The “Managing Your Independent Reading Program” includes: resources for organizing independent reading, the classroom library, room arrangement, anchor charts, mini-lessons for promoting independent reading, reading response journals and logs, discussion groups and book recommendations, guidance for conferring with students, and information on growing your classroom library. According to Benchmark Universe materials, “Students should also be encouraged to develop a routine of reading daily at home for a minimum of 20 minutes, either independently or with a parent.” In the independent reading stage, students are required to self-select and to read materials at their own ‘just-right’ levels.” The Three-Finger Method is recommended for Emergent and Early Readers, which includes:

  1. Choose a book that you would like to read.
  2. Turn to any page and begin reading.
  3. If there are three words that you can’t pronounce or that you don’t understand, the book is too difficult for you.
  4. Repeat the process until you find a “just-right” book.

A tracking system is recommended in the “Managing Your Independent Reading Program” to track students’ independent reading in the form of a reading log and reading response journal. Reading response journals are kept by students and used to record personal responses to texts they have read or will read. It is suggested that young students can draw pictures as a means of reflecting their reading. Teachers demonstrate proper techniques, provide mini-lessons on how to respond to literature and model several prompts by listing them on chart paper, and hang the paper on the wall. The reading log is also suggested as an independent reading tracking tool. In reading logs, students keep a record of what they have read by writing the book title, author, illustrator, genre, and date read.

There is sufficient teacher guidance to foster independence for all readers and procedures are organized for independent reading included in the lessons, for example, as stated in the text, “Within Benchmark Advance, students may participate in daily independent reading during the Independent and Collaborative Activity block, while the teacher meets with small groups of students to conduct differentiated small-group reading instruction, model fluency skills through reader’s theater, or reteach skills and strategies.” Students complete a variety of reading activities in the reading block. Students have shared reading and mentor read-alouds each week. There are also a set of small group texts that will be used in small group time. Each set of texts is leveled according to Guided Reading levels. Student independent reading materials span a wide volume of texts at grade levels. These texts titles are included as a teacher resource, Recommended Trade Books.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

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Gateway Three Details
This material was not reviewed for Gateway Three because it did not meet expectations for Gateways One and Two

Criterion 3a - 3e

Materials are well designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
N/A

Indicator 3b

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

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.).
N/A

Indicator 3d

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

Indicator 3e

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

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.
N/A

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.
N/A

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.
N/A

Indicator 3i

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

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.
N/A

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
N/A

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
N/A

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
N/A

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Indicator 3m

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

Indicator 3n

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

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.

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.
N/A

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.
N/A

Indicator 3q

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

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
N/A

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

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.
N/A

Indicator 3t

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

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
N/A

Indicator 3u.i

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

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
N/A

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.).
N/A
abc123

Report Published Date: 2018/03/16

Report Edition: 2018

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Benchmark Advance Language Mini-Lesson Handbook Grade K 978‑1‑5021‑9894‑5 Copyright: 2018 Benchmark Education Company 2017
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr K Unit 1 and 2 978‑1‑5125‑2284‑6 Copyright: 2018 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr K Unit 3 and 4 978‑1‑5125‑2285‑3 Copyright: 2018 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr K Unit 5 and 6 978‑1‑5125‑2286‑0 Copyright: 2018 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr K Unit 7 and 8 978‑1‑5125‑2287‑7 Copyright: 2018 Benchmark Education Company 2018
Benchmark Advance Teacher Resource System Gr K Unit 9 and10 978‑1‑5125‑2288‑4 Copyright: 2018 Benchmark Education Company 2018

Please note: Reports published beginning in 2021 will be using version 1.5 of our review tools. Version 1 of our review tools can be found here. Learn more about this change.

ELA K-2 Review Tool

The ELA review criteria identifies the indicators for high-quality instructional materials. The review criteria supports 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 review criteria 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 complements the review criteria 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.

The EdReports rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of alignment to college and career ready standards and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum, such as usability and design, as recommended by educators.

Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators (gateway 1) to move to the other gateways. 

Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment to the standards. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?

Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. 

In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

For ELA and math, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For science, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For all content areas, usability ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for effective practices (as outlined in the evaluation tool) for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, and effective technology use.

Math K-8

  • Focus and Coherence - 14 possible points

    • 12-14 points: Meets Expectations

    • 8-11 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 8 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 18 possible points

    • 16-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 11-15 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 11 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 38 possible points

    • 31-38 points: Meets Expectations

    • 23-30 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 23: Does Not Meet Expectations

Math High School

  • Focus and Coherence - 18 possible points

    • 14-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 16 possible points

    • 14-16 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 36 possible points

    • 30-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 22-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 22: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA K-2

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 58 possible points

    • 52-58 points: Meets Expectations

    • 28-51 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 28 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 3-5

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 42 possible points

    • 37-42 points: Meets Expectations

    • 21-36 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 21 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 6-8

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 36 possible points

    • 32-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 18-31 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 18 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


ELA High School

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meets Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

Science Middle School

  • Designed for NGSS - 26 possible points

    • 22-26 points: Meets Expectations

    • 13-21 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 13 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Coherence and Scope - 56 possible points

    • 48-56 points: Meets Expectations

    • 30-47 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 30 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 54 possible points

    • 46-54 points: Meets Expectations

    • 29-45 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 29 points: Does Not Meet Expectations