Alignment: Overall Summary

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The Fishtank ELA K-2 materials meet expectations for alignment to the standards. High-quality texts are paired with strong social studies and science content to provide students with opportunities to read, write, and communicate with others effectively and with increasing sophistication.

**The materials reviewed do not include a formal foundational skills component and instead recommend pairing the materials with a high-quality foundational skills program.

See Rating Scale Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
30
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Does Not Meet Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
17
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The Fishtank Kindergarten materials include high-quality, appropriately-leveled texts worthy of careful reading. Texts provide support for students as they grow their literacy skills over the course of the year. While the materials provide for a range of reading, there is a lack of information to support the teacher in selecting additional texts to support a volume of reading beyond the core texts.

Text-based questions, tasks, and assignments (including those in writing and oral language) engage students directly to the texts and build to culminating tasks that designed to demonstrate both content knowledge and skills.

Materials do not include explicit instruction and practice in grammar.

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.
19/20
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Criterion Rating Details

The Fishtank Kindergarten materials include high-quality texts worthy of careful reading and include a variety of folktales, historical fiction, realistic fiction, biographies, and poetry. Texts are at the appropriate level of complexity, incorporate disciplinary vocabulary (where appropriate), and provide support for students as they grow their literacy skills over the course of the year. A text complexity analysis accompanies the materials to provide information about the levels of the texts and why they were selected for inclusion in the units.

The materials provide for a range of reading, however, beyond the core texts, there is a lack of information to support the teacher in selecting additional texts to support a volume of reading.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading. The texts across Literature, Science, and Social Studies materials address a range of interests, and the reading selections would be interesting and engaging for students. Unit texts include a variety of genres and consider a range of students’ interests including, but not limited to, traditional fairy and folklore tales, biographies, realistic fiction, historical texts, nonfiction, animals, and cultural texts. Academic, rich vocabulary can also be found within selected texts as well as enriching illustrations to help build knowledge.

Throughout the program, the anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading. Many are written by well-known published authors. Examples of this in Literature include: 

  • Literature Unit 1, Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes is an engaging text with colorful, captivating illustrations. Although the Lexile level of the text is higher than the grade level, it’s simple text structure and focus on becoming part of a classroom environment make it an appropriate text as a read aloud for kindergarten.
  • In Literature Unit 2, the text A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein contains poetic language and engaging illustrations. 
  • Literature Unit 3 features multiple informational anchor texts such as Fall Weather: Cooler Temperatures by Martha E H Rustad, Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro, and Leaves by David Ezra Stein which are above the kindergarten Lexile band. The narrow academic content focus along with explanatory illustrations support the texts as read alouds. 
  • In Literature Unit 4, texts by author Jerry Pinkey include the timeless classics, The Lion and the Mouse, The Tortoise and the Hare, and The Grasshopper and the Ants.
  • Literature Unit 5 features Jan Brett texts The Hat and The Mitten with are filled with rich language and captivating illustrations.

Similar to Literature, the anchor texts include informational texts which are also are of publishable quality These include:

  • In Literature Unit 3, the text Fall Harvests: Bringing in Food by Martha E.H. Rustad is an informational text that discusses the foods harvested in the fall and festivals held around the world to celebrate them.
  • In Literature Unit 5, Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft is an engaging and informative look at how animals survive the winter.
  • In Literature Unit 6, the text The Color of Us by Karen Katz presents an illustrated picture book that promotes discussion on skin color.

Indicator 1b

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

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

Students engage with a wide array of literary and informational texts throughout thematic units using read-alouds, shared reading and independent reading. Texts types include folktales, historical fiction, realistic fiction, adventure, biographies, and poetry.

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

  • Literature Unit 1, Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
  • Literature Unit 1, Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns about Courage by Howard Binkow
  • Literature Unit 1, A Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
  • Literature Unit 2, Jump, Frog, Jump! by Robert Kalan 
  • Literature Unit 3, Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
  • Literature Unit 4, Just a Minute by Yuyi Morales
  • Literature Unit 4, The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
  • Literature Unit 5, It’s Snowing! by Gail Gibbons
  • Literature Unit 5, The Mitten by Jan Brett
  • Literature Unit 6, A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson
  • Literature Unit 6, The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
  • Literature Unit 7, If the Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most
  • Literature Unit 8, The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen and Jerry Pinkney

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

  • Literature Unit 1, It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
  • Literature Unit 3 Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins
  • Literature Unit 3, The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
  • Literature Unit 4, Pele King of Soccer by Monica Brown 
  • Literature Unit 5, Animals in the Winter by Henrietta Bancroft
  • Literature Unit 6, A Picture Book of Rosa Parks by David A. Adler
  • Literature Unit 7, Dinosaurs! by Gail Gibbon
  • Literature Unit 7, Digging Up Dinosaurs by Aliki

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
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meets the criteria that 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.

Quantitatively, the texts range in complexity from 200-1030 which, at this grade level, are predominantly presented as read alouds. Qualitatively, the texts present complex ideas, vocabulary, and themes that allow students to acquire knowledge and conduct analysis of complex texts and how they relate to each thematic unit. All texts for Kindergarten are at a complexity level above what most students can read independently.

In Unit 1, students read the text Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin. This text has a quantitative measure of 490L. Qualitatively, students analyze the text through answering text dependent questions then are asked to, “Think about how telling the truth and not lying helps the entire community” and “Write and draw about what they can do instead of lying.” Students also read Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes, which has a quantitative measure of 480L. Qualitatively, students ask and answer questions about key details in the text and make connections between main character and themselves.

In Unit 2, students read the texts Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business, by Esphyr Slobodkina. These texts have a quantitative measure of 480L. Qualitatively, students analyze the details and illustrations from the text to explain what happened with the peddler’s caps and why. Students also read Silly Sally by Audrey Wood, which has a quantitative measure of 680L. Students are asked to explain how Silly Sally got to town through the use of illustrations and text dependent questions.

In Unit 3, students read Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro, which has a quantitative measure of 580L. The complex demands of the text ask for students to retell key ideas of the text using illustrations providing details from the text. Students also read The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons, which has a quantitative measure of 640L. Qualitatively, students conduct a close read in order to “Explain how pumpkins grow, by using the text and illustrations to describe the connection between key details in a text.” 

In Unit 4, students read My Abuelita by Tony Johnston and Yuyi Morales, which has a quantitative measure of 540L. Qualitatively, students are asked how the characters feel in the story and to explain by describing the characters and using details to support their answers. Students also read Tito Puente, Mambo King by Monica Brown, which has a quantitative measure of 620L. The qualitative demands of this text have students reading the text, listening to his music and reviewing his biography. Students are asked to describe Tito Puente and explain why he is famous. 

In Unit 5, students read It’s Snowing! by Gail Gibbons, which has a quantitative measure of 790L. The qualitative demands have students use details from the text to figure out the meaning of new scientific language. Students use the illustrations and text to build on prior knowledge about snow and use their knowledge to answer the question “are all snowstorms the same?” Students also read The Mitten by Jan Brett, which has a quantitative measure of 600L. Qualitative demands of this story have students make connections with what the illustrations and story are saying with what they have learned in previous lessons about winter and winter animals.

In Unit 6, students read Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, which has a quantitative measure of 800L. In this complex text, students are asked to describe if Rosa Parks was courageous or if the bus boycott was a good idea by identifying the reasons an author gives in order to support a point. Students also read I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Kadir Nelson, which has a quantitative measure of 1030L. This text contains complex themes and historical relevance to the world today. 

In Unit 7, students read How Big Were the Dinosaurs? by Bernard Most, which has a quantitative measure of 660L.  Qualitatively, students describe how big a dinosaur was and how the author helped us understand how big it was by retelling key details to explain the connection between two ideas in a text. Students also read Dinosaurs! by Gail Gibbons, which has a quantitative measure of NC750L. Qualitatively, the complex demands of this text ask students to explain why different dinosaurs needed different characteristics for survival and what would have happened if they all had the same characteristics by using words and illustrations to make inferences about key details.

In Unit 8, students read Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser, which has a quantitative measure of 480L. Qualitatively, students are asked to explain why earthworms are called “underground gardeners” by describing and making connections between pieces of information in the text.

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).
4/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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).

 Throughout Kindergarten, the units are designed to build upon one another with increasing demands for knowledge and application as the student progresses through each thematic unit and lesson.  Anchor texts are listed within every unit and provide quantitative measures as well as a text selection rationale. Students engage in texts of varying levels and complexity within each unit. Some texts are above the Lexile band for kindergarten, but the expectations for learners and rationales for text selection are clear to the purpose of the instruction and provided in the Overview for each Unit. Students begin Kindergarten setting up a routines for reading and are exposed to engaging and predictable read-alouds.  Next, building on the first three units, students begin to retell using key details about setting, characters, and major events. They are now challenged to “read” illustrations and think about how the illustrations help a reader better understand what is happening in the story. By the end of the year, students are expected to understand both informational and fiction and make connections between pieces of information.

Literature Unit 1 introduces students to read alouds and how to be an active participant in read alouds. Texts such as Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes and Words Are Not for Hurting by Elizabeth Verdick are used to introduce students to reading skills such as interacting and practicing vocabulary and writing in response to text. All texts at the early point in the curriculum are above the Kindergarten Lexile Band and are treated as read alouds. 

 In Unit 2, the demands on students increase as they now begin to work on retelling stories including explaining what happens to characters in the story using key details in the text. Simpler texts such as The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle and We’re Going on a Lion Hunt by David Axtell support students as they begin to develop their literacy skills. Another focus of this beginning unit is on understanding how authors and illustrators use illustrations and repetition to help a reader understand the main events in a story. The Teacher Guide States, “Scholars will learn how to closely “read” illustrations for subtle clues about character feeling or foreshadowing clues for what is going to happen next in a story.”

By Unit 4, students are studying the life of authors  Grace Lin, Yuyi Morales, John Parra, Monica Brown and Jerry Pinkney and making connections between the background of the author and the stories he/she writes or illustrates. Students also begin using the texts as mentor texts for their own writing. Students at this time are continuing to work on retelling stories with focus on details from the text including setting, characters, and major events.  Scholars are also challenged to “read” the illustrations and think about how the illustrations help a reader better understand what is happening in the story. By the end of Unit 4 students are now expected to be able to fully explain the role of the author and the illustrator. 

In Unit 6, students are exposed to multiple biographies including National Geographic Kids: Rosa Parks by Kitson Jazynka, A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David A. Adler, and A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson. While the Lexile level of these texts is still above the Kindergarten grade band making them more appropriate as read alouds, students are now expected to begin to see the how an author uses details to support an idea in biographies. Students expand their understanding of details to begin identifying key details, making connections between details, and relating details from the text to the author’s use of illustrations. Students are exposed to more complex texts at this point in the year where they compare details and how themes are developed across texts. 

In Unit 8, the use of complex texts such as Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser, A Nest Full of Eggs by Priscilla Belz, and From Seed to Sunflower by Gerald Legg supports an increase in student literacy levels as the student is expected to describe the connection between ideas or pieces of information. Student understanding of the use of illustrations expands to include describing the relationship between illustrations and key points in the text. Students are also expected to ask and answer questions about key details, identify the main topic, and compare two texts on the same topic by this final unit.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for 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 Core Texts for each grade level are listed in the Unit Summaries and each text is aligned with a Text Selection Rationale that indicates both the Quantitative and Qualitative reasoning for their placement within the materials.

  • In Unit 2, The Text Selection Rationale for the selected core texts, in part, states, “With a lexile range of 260L to 600L the quantitative measures place the core texts in the first to second grade band level.  Due to the higher lexile levels and text demands these texts are inaccessible to scholars independently, and therefore are appropriate to read aloud.”
  • In Unit 4, The Text Selection Rationale for the selected core texts, in part, states, “the illustrations are necessary for understanding the text and depict more information about the characters, setting and events. Therefore, the illustrations make the texts mildly complex and appropriate to read aloud at this grade level.
  • In Unit 6, The Text Selection Rationale for the selected core texts, in part, states, “All of the core texts require an understanding of the civil rights movement and segregation, a topic that is unfamiliar to many students in this age range. The texts, however, have clear and straightforward levels of meaning that are easily accessible if scholars have the necessary background knowledge.”

Indicator 1f

Anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria that support materials for the core text(s) provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their reading at grade level by the end of the school year.

All included anchor texts for Kindergarten are specified as read aloud texts and fall above the Lexile band for this grade level. The Course Summary explains that the approach to reading at this level is intended to teach good reading habits while developing deep comprehension of texts through read alouds. Included in this Summary is an explanation of how using interactive read alouds and teacher modeling and guided discussions builds student reading strategies and habits. The course overview explicitly states that the type of reading strategies to be addressed in each lesson are not identified but are left to teacher choice after analyzing target task question, lesson objective, and key lesson standards to decide which reading habit best supports comprehension of the text. The Text Consumption Guide in the publisher’s documents specifies that most texts will be consumed as read alouds in Kindergarten with the exception of shared reading texts allowing students to build strong listening comprehension while building knowledge and vocabulary. The Literacy Blocks guidance indicates that Kindergarten will engage in 20 minutes of independent reading and 60 minutes of guided reading daily in addition to the 45 minute literature block. Specific texts for these times are not indicated. 

The anchor texts are clearly listed in each unit and include a quantitative measure as well as a text rationale for why it was selected.  At this grade level, all of the texts included in the units are presented as read alouds as there is a broad range in lexile and volume that students are exposed to covering a myriad of text types including fiction, non-fiction, folktales, poetry, historical fiction, and biographies. The teacher materials also allow a plan for shared, guided, and independent reading, however, specific texts, leveled texts and/or supporting texts are not included within the materials. Opportunities to meet differentiated student needs were not clearly evident and it was unclear how proficiency would be formatively and/or summatively measured throughout the year.

In Unit 1, the quantitative measures fall within a first to second grade band 390-540L and are therefore designed as read-alouds.  The rationale provided for text selection (in part) states, “The qualitative measures of the texts, particularly the levels of meaning, support the placement of the core texts as part of the unit. The units all have mildly complex themes that highlight aspects of what it means to be part of a strong classroom community. The themes are sometimes obvious and sometimes more nuanced, but are almost always revealed over the course of the text.”

 In Unit 3, the quantitative measures fall within a first to second grade band 410-650L and are therefore designed as read-alouds.  The rationale provided for text selection (in part) states, “The qualitative measures of the texts, particularly the purpose, text structure, and illustrations, support the placement of the core texts as part of the unit.  The texts all have a narrowly focused and clearly stated focus on fall, making the purpose and subject demands of the text easily accessible to scholars.”

In Unit 5, the majority of quantitative measures fall within the first to second grade band, 480-790L, with a few in the third grade band.  The rationale provided for text selection (in part) states, “The qualitative measures of the texts, particularly the text features and illustrations in the informational texts. The simple text structure and connection between texts and illustrations in the literature texts, support the placement of the core texts as part of the unit.”

Rationales are missing for unit 7 and 8

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The Fishtank Kindergarten materials employ the use of text-based questions, tasks, and assignments that require students to engage directly with texts to support their comprehension, content knowledge, and vocabulary. These questions, tasks, and assignments build to culminating tasks that require students to demonstrate their understanding of the topics they have been studying through drawing, dictating, writing, and speaking. Students engage in evidence-based discussions about the texts they are reading (or having read to them) and are supported with specific protocols included with the program to participate in a variety of discussions with peers. Materials do not include explicit instruction and practice in grammar. 

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
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Indicator Rating Details

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

Throughout the units, students are asked to answer a variety of questions related to the texts being read. Discussion are embedded into each lesson, which supports students in drawing on textual evidence to support their learning of explicit and inferential information. The text-based questions and tasks require the students to produce evidence from texts to support opinions or statements when writing and speaking. Questions draw the reader back into the text and support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. Several examples of text - based questions, tasks, and assignments include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, after being read Wemberly Worried, students are asked:
    • What did Wemberly worry about and why?
    • What worries did Wemberly have about the first day of school?
    • What caused Wemberly’s worries about school to go away? How do you help make your worries go away?
    •  How does Wemberly feel at the end of the day and why?
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, after reading Jump, Frog, Jump! By Robert Kalan, students are asked (to):
    • Retell the sequence of events.
    • Who tried to eat the frog first? Who tried to eat the frog after the fish?
    • How did the Frog always get away? How can we use the pictures to help us know how he gets away?
    • How do the illustrations help the reader better understanding how the frog gets away?
    • How do the illustrations help the reader predict what is going to happen next?
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 4, after reading Why do Leaves Change Color? By Betsy Maestro, students are asked:
    • What happens to leaves in autumn? 
    • What are leaves like in the spring and summer? Why? 
    • Why are leaves important to a tree? 
    • Besides the leaves, what else changes in fall? 
    • How does a tree get ready for winter? 
    • What causes the changing color of autumn leaves? 
    • What happens to the leaves once they are on the ground? Why? 
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 16, after reading, Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner and John Parra,  students are asked:
    • What is Cornelius’ job? How does he feel about it? How do you know?
    • How does Cornelius treat others?
    • How do the illustrations help the reader better understand Cornelius?
    • What happened when the storm came?
    • Why did the city need help from others? How did others help?
    • Why did Cornelius weep when he saw all of the trash after the storm? 
    • How did John Parra use the illustrations to help us better understand Cornelius and Hurricane Katrina?
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 7, after reading, Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, students are asked:
    • “What happens ‘under the snow’? 
    • What would happen if the animals weren’t under the snow? Explain.
    • Why does the author say that the fox leaps after “an invisible dinner”?
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 14, after reading A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson, students are asked:
    • Why did the girls decide to go to the march? How did they feel when they were at the march?
    • Who was the leader of the march? What were they marching for? Why was it important?
    • Why do you think the illustrator decided to use just a bit of red on some pages?
    • Why do you think the girls’ mother didn’t go to the march? How did she feel when they returned?
    • What does the smell of roses remind the girls of? Why?
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 2, after reading, Fossils Tell of Long Ago, students are asked:
    • What is the first thing that happened to the fish? 
    • What happens next?
    • What happens after the bones are covered with mud? How does diagram 3 help a reader understand what is happening?
    • What happened as the weight of the layers of mud pressed down? Why is this important? 
  • In Unit 8, Lesson 6, after reading How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan, students are asked:
    • Do all seeds look the same? Even though they look different, do they all have the same purpose? Explain why or why not.
    • What experiment do the little boys do? What do they learn about seeds?
    • How does a seed change as it grows? What are the different parts of a seed?
    • What does a seed need in order to grow/ Where do seeds get their food?

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials that contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task that integrates skills for students to demonstrate understanding. Although not labeled as a culminating task, units contain a final lesson that brings together the information and skills learned throughout the unit. The final tasks incorporate a combination of skills including drawing, dictating, writing and speaking.

  • Unit 1 has a final task that requires students to “Explain what it means to be part of a classroom community and how scholars can make the classroom community a fun place to be, by participating in a discussion using details from the unit.” As part of preparing for this task students are asked to discuss the following:
    • Unit 1, Lesson 1, Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes,  "What caused Wemberly’s worries about school to go away? How do you make your worries go away?"
    • Unit 1, Lesson 3, Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow, "Explain what Howard learns about listening and what we can learn from Howard’s story that will help us have a joyful and safe classroom, by asking and answering questions about key details in a text."
    • Unit 1, Lesson 5, I Call My Hand Gentle by Amanda Haan, "Identify what it means to have a gentle hand by asking and answering questions about key details in a text. Make connections to classroom rules and expectations."
    • Unit 1, Lesson 7, I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont, "Explain why the narrator says, 'There’s no one else I’d rather be,' by asking and answering questions about key details in a text. Make connections to what scholars like about themselves and how that connects to a joyful and safe classroom community."
  • Unit 3 has a final task that requires students to “Pretend you are a weather reporter. Use the data you have collected to create a weather forecast that describes what weather is like in the Fall and how it impacts different living things.” As part of preparing for this task students discuss:
    • Unit 3, Lesson 3, Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert, "How does the tree change from the beginning to the end? Why?"
    • Unit 3, Lesson 7, Leaves by David Ezra Stein, "Explain why the little bear was confused and what advice you could give the little bear about what was happening with the leaves, by using words and illustrations to retell key details and ideas in a text."
    • Unit 3, Lesson 10, Fall Harvests: Bringing in Food by Martha E H Rustad, "Explain what a harvest is and what types of foods can be harvested in the fall, by using the words and illustrations to retell key details in a text."
    • Unit 3, Lesson 13, Apples by Gail Gibbons, "Explain what the text was mostly about and three to four things they learned about apples, by identifying the main topic of a text and using the words and illustrations to retell key details."
    • Unit 3, Lesson 14, Apples by Gail Gibbons, "Explain how an apple tree changes from season to season, by using the text and illustrations to describe the connection between key details in a text."
  • Unit 6 has a final task that requires students to “Explain why Martin Luther King Jr. was influential and what lessons we can learn from him, by stating a claim and providing supporting evidence from multiple sources.” In preparation for this final task students discuss:
    • Unit 6, Lesson 3, The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson, "Explain that the two little girls were separated because of the color of their skin, but in the end, they decided to ignore the rules and play with each other because people of all skin colors can be friends and have fun together."
    • Unit 6, Lesson 5, Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, "Describe if Rosa Parks was courageous or if the bus boycott was a good idea by identifying the reasons an author gives to support a point."
    • Unit 6, Lesson 9, National Geographic Kids: Rosa Parks by Kitson Jazynka, Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, A Picture Book of Rosa Parks by David A. Adler, "Explain why Rosa Parks was influential and what lessons we can learn from her, by stating a claim and providing supporting evidence from multiple sources."
    • Unit 6, Lesson 10, Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo, "Explain how Martin Luther King Jr. was a powerful leader by identifying the reasons an author gives to support a point."
    • Unit 6, Lesson 11, Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, "Explain what important lessons we can learn from Martin Luther King Jr. and how his words are still alive today by identifying the reasons an author gives to support a point."

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for 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.

The materials provide opportunities for students to use speaking and listening skills to apply their knowledge using evidence based discussion in smaller groups and within the larger class.  The protocols for evidence based discussions are included in the ancillary teacher materials and outline recommendations and frameworks to plan and use within the lessons. The Rigorous Discussion Guidelines detail how to prepare and lead effective classroom discussions as well as recommendations for how to maximize learning after the instruction.  It includes a three level rubric for student led discussions that measures students’ skills in speaking and listening, advancement of discussion, analysis, preparation and providing evidence.  The Intellectual Prep section of the units have teachers determine the focus for habits of discussion that aligns with target speaking and listening standards, based on the classroom needs. Teachers then create a plan for how to teach and reinforce the discussion habits over the course of the unit during daily partner and whole - group discussions. 

The Rigorous Discussion Guidelines in the Publisher’s Supporting Documents for Teachers explains strategies and structures to teachers in a step by step guide. Some lessons explicitly refer to these strategies and structures as an option for the lesson, but the teacher has the discretion of when to use them. There is a detailed document providing steps and guidelines to prepare for, lead, and follow up with a rigorous discussion. To prepare for a discussion some teacher guidance includes setting up the classroom space, articulating a question, and anticipating student misconceptions. To lead a discussion, some guidance is provided for modeling note taking for students, providing scaffolding, and tracking data from the discussion. After the discussion, there is guidance on how to use the data to inform future classes, which, also includes a rubric for evaluating student discussion. Examples from the Rigorous Discussion Guidelines protocols include but are not limited to:

  • Design pre-work/mini-lesson that provides necessary context needed to start forming an informed opinion of a particular content goal
  • Model and practice facilitation of an effective discussion when initially introducing rigorous discussion
  • Skillfully facilitates discussion using a variety of strategies

The Publisher’s Documents also contain an Instructional Strategies Guide that highlights different ways for students to engage in an evidence based discussion. These include:

  • Turn and Talk which is a language strategy that provides scaffolded opportunities for all students to formulate and build upon each other’s ideas. It is suggested that teachers use this when there is more than one right answer or for a meaty part of the text that is worth discussion and analysis.
  • Discussion, which helps increase student thinking by challenging one to test out their own ideas, build on those of their peers, and ultimately lead a persuasive discussion. It should be used to evaluate or test theories as well as synthesize a lesson. 

Match Mini Protocols that illustrate various protocols include:

  • Part 1: Illustrates discussion protocols 
  • Part 2: Provides a protocol for the classroom discussion. This part assists the teacher with evidence-based discussions using the text-based questions and vocabulary. 

Examples from the lesson frameworks include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, students make connections between the character Howard B. Wigglebottom and the ways we can show courage at school. Then, in table teams, students think of challenges they want to tackle in school. 
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 14, students are asked to write, draw, and share a pledge they create. 
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 6, students retell what happened each time a new animal came to the door in Sitting Down to Eat by Hill Harley with a partner.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 7, students work to explain what is happening with the leaves based on what they have learned in the first few lessons of the unit. 
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 6, students engage in a class discussion on where Grace Lin gets her inspiration from and what she likes to write about. 
  •  In Unit 5, Lesson 14, after discussing the key things needed for survival, students are pushed to explain one of the animals from the unit.  
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 9, students engage in a discussion about why Rosa Parks was influential and what lessons we can learn from her. In the Intellectual Prep section it says that teachers need to determine the habits of discussion focus for the unit using the targeted speaking and listening standards as a guide. 
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 22, students engage in a discussion where they compare and contrast the Bernard Most books with other books from the unit by identifying basic differences between two or more texts on the same topic. 
  • In Unit 8, Lesson 2, students engage in a discussion after reading It’s Spring by Linda Glaser about whether spring is just like fall and why. 
  • In Unit 8, Lesson 4, students engage in an activity where students explore the difference between living and nonliving things, specifically what they need to survive. The activity is found on page 27 of the FOSS Life Cycles Unit Plan, which does state that students discuss the findings of the activity with a shoulder partner. 

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectation that 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.

Materials in Kindergarten support speaking and listening about the text through group learning activities and class discussions. There are some examples in the lesson frames and teaching notes, where the word discussion is used explicitly to indicate to the teacher that discussion should be taking place in class. In addition, every lesson has a set of Key Questions, and while it does not always explicitly state to discuss, these questions provide opportunities to discuss and the Notes section of the lesson frame frequently indicates that a discussion should occur.  These series of questions often progress from discussion to drawing or writing. Students have multiple opportunities to present their work and share with their peers in a group or whole class settings. Resource documents provide assistance for teachers in choosing class structures. Intellectual Prep is provided for each unit that specifies the discussions that will be included throughout the lessons. 

Examples of opportunities for students to practice their listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching in Literature include but are not limited to these examples.  Some activities in the Lesson Objectives or Notes section of the Lesson Frames specifically require a discussion to be held by students and provide text dependent questions to be answered by students. Teachers can use their discretion to decide if it is whole group, partner, or small group discussion.

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 6, Sitting Down to Eat by Bill Harley the teacher instructions state, “With a partner after reading, have scholars orally retell what happened each time a new animal came to the door. Give scholars character pictures or cards to guide the retell."
  •  In Unit 3, Lesson 1, Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins students are asked to, “Brainstorm one or two questions about fall by asking and answering questions about details from a discussion."
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 6, The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin, Kite Flying by Grace Lin, Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin, Fortune Cookie Fortunes by Grace Lin states, “Where does Grace Lin get her inspiration and what types of topics she writes about? This part of the lesson should be a discussion in which scholars think about all of the different books they read by Grace Lin and what they notice.”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 8, National Geographic Kids: Rosa Parks by Kitson Jazynka, Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, A Picture Book of Rosa Parks by David A. Adler the students are asked to, “Compare and contrast all Rosa Parks biographies by identifying basic similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures)”
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 17, Dinosaur Roar by Paul and Henrietta Stickland students will, “Use descriptive words to describe a dinosaur by asking and answering questions about key details and words in a text.”
  •  In Unit 8, Lesson 39, students are asked to, “Debate and discuss unit essential questions by stating a claim and using evidence from the entire unit to support the claim.”

Indicator 1k

Materials include 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
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations 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. The unit materials provide opportunities for students to complete narrative, informational, and opinion writing. The Instructional Strategies guidelines, available in the ancillary materials detail Stop & Jot’s in which students respond to questions in writing, and are designed to be incorporated into each lesson using the Planning a Lesson protocol and lesson plan template. Also, the Literacy Block guide denotes a Writer’s Workshop for 45 minutes daily.

  •  Unit 1, Lesson 6, Time to Say “Please"! by Mo Willems in the Notes Section of the Lesson frame states that students should: "After reading, have scholars draw and write about a time when they would say 'please.' After scholars have written, have them share with a partner." 
  • Unit 2, Lesson 13, Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business, by Esphyr Slobodkina in the Notes Section of the Lesson frame directs teachers “After reading, have scholars return to their seats and write and draw one way that the peddler could have gotten the hats back from the monkeys. The key is for scholars to think of a way that is nicer than stomping and yelling like he did in the beginning.”
  • Unit 3, Lesson 9, provides two opportunities for students to engage in writing: "This day should be set up as a lab day/deep exploration day. Potential activities: going on a walk and finding leaves, making their own leaf men and telling a story with the leaves, leaf rubbing, etc. OR If there are multiple activities or an activity that would be across two days, feel free to stretch this out into more than one day. Also, it is an option to do an activity one day and then have them write about it the following day." 
  • Unit 4, Lesson 6, The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin, Kite Flying by Grace Lin, Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin, Fortune Cookie Fortunes by Grace Lin has students: "Write an opinion piece about which Grace Lin story was your favorite and why by stating an opinion and supporting it with a reason." 
  • Unit 5, Lesson 14, Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft, Big Tracks, Little Tracks: Following Animal Prints by Millicent E. Selsam, Wild Tracks! A Guide to Nature’s Footprints by Jim Arnosky, Wolves by Gail Gibbons, Owls by Gail Gibbons in the Notes Section of the frame states: "This is a discussion/writing-about-reading day. Scholars should think about everything they have learned about how animals get food in the winter, animal tracks, wolves, and owls to describe what animals need to survive the winter. After scholars have discussed the key things needed for survival, push them to explain using one of the animals from the unit." 
  • Unit 6, Lesson 9, National Geographic Kids: Rosa Parks by Kitson Jazynka, Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, A Picture Book of Rosa Parks by David A. Adler in the Notes Section of the frame states: "As an extension, have scholars write a thank-you letter to Rosa Parks. In the thank-you letter, they should explain what they learned from her and how she helped make the world a better place." 
  •  Lesson 4, students are asked to, “Identify the difference between helpful words and hurtful words by asking and answering questions about key details in a text. Generate a list of helpful words to use in the classroom.” 
  •  In Unit 2, Lesson 10, students are asked to, “Explain how Bojangles brings music and happiness to everyone he meets, by using details and illustrations to retell key details from a text.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 2, the students, “Should observe the weather daily, record the temperature, and discuss what types of clothing they would wear based on the weather.”
  • In Unit 4, lesson 6, students are asked to, “Write an opinion piece about which Grace Lin story was your favorite and why by stating an opinion and support it with a reason.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, students are asked to, “Describe the weather by using vocabulary from the unit to supply information on a topic orally and in writing. Pretend you are a meteorologist. Use the weather words you’ve learned to describe the weather.”
  •  In Unit 6, Lesson 9 students write a letter to Rosa Parks, and in Lesson 19, students write a letter to Martin Luther King.
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 6, the objective states, “Explain how people learned about dinosaurs, by using a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose an informative text that supplies information about a topic."

Indicator 1l

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially 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.

Instructional materials provide opportunities for students to learn how to write informational, and opinion pieces across both the Literature and Science and Social Studies units. The material covers a variety of text types that allow students to engage in informational and opinion writing; however, there is only one writing prompt found in the program that addresses narrative writing. In the Standards Map for Kindergarten that points out which units cover which standard, the program does not identify a single unit that matches with the writing standard for narrative writing. The unit summaries provides unit prep for writing that explains to teachers that they need to design mini lessons, modeling, and teacher feedback to ensure student progress in writing with a rubric attached to measure content and structure. 

The one example of narrative writing is:

  • In Unit 7, Lesson 24, students write a story about what would happen if a dinosaur came to school with them by using a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event. It explains in the notes section that students should use what they have learned about dinosaurs in conjunction with what they have learned about narrative stories. However, this is the first narrative story prompt found in the materials. 

Some examples of informational writing lessons and prompts include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 6, students draw and write about a time when they would say please.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 13, students write and draw about what they can do instead of lying.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 16, students use the data collected to create a weather forecast that describes what weather is like in the fall and how it impacts different living things, by sharing observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, students describe the weather by using vocabulary from the unit to supply information on a topic both orally and in writing. 
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 14, students explain what animals need to survive the winter by using a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to retell what they learned about animals in winter.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 9, students explain why Rosa Parks was influential and what lessons one can learn from her by stating a claim and providing supporting evidence from multiple sources.
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 6, students explain how people learned about dinosaurs, by using a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose an informative text that supplies information about a topic.
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 16, students write a book that teachers about an additional dinosaur by participating in either a shared or an individual research and writing project in which they name a topic and supply information about the topic. 
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 18, students describe dinosaurs by using a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose an informative text that supplies information about the topic. 

Some examples of opinion writing lessons and prompts include:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 13, students write and draw one way that the peddler could have gotten the hats back from the monkeys.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 6, students write an opinion piece about which Grace Lin story was their favorite and why by stating an opinion and supporting it with a reason. These types of opinion writing prompts also occur in Lesson 12 with the author Yuyi Morales, Lesson 17 with the author John Parra, in Lesson 22 with the author Monica Brown, and Lesson 27 with the author Jerry Pinkney. 
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 20, students write an opinion piece about which Jan Brett story was their favorite and why by stating an opinion and supporting it with a reason.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet 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.

The materials provide students the opportunity to learn, practice and apply evidence based writing using words and pictures to recall relevant information and details in their application and discussion of the material. Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analysis and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources. The goal of Unit 1 is to teach students the procedure for writing about reading and how to articulate details from the text through pictures and words. 

Examples of evidence - based writing opportunities include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 4, students read Wemberly Worried and students make promise cards to help them adjust to the new school year. This is an opportunity for students to use writing and drawing about the text early in the school year.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 14, students write and draw what they pledge to do in order to make the community a joyful place using all of the unit texts. 
  • The Unit 2 summary states that, “In this unit, scholars will continue to write daily in response to the text, with a focus on using words and pictures to correctly answer the question.”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 3, students explain how the tree changes from the beginning to the end, by using words and illustrations to retell key details in a text after reading “We’re going on a Bear Hunt”.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 13, students write and draw one way that the peddler could have gotten the hats back from the monkeys after reading “Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business.”
  • The Unit 3 overview states that, “scholars will continue to write daily in response to the text. Scholars should be using a combination of words and pictures, depending on the scholar’s development as a writer.”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 6, students are asked to write a letter to Grace Lin that includes which is their favorite book and why. Other lessons in this unit such as Lessons 12, 17, 22, and 27 also provide a writing prompt for opinion writing. 
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, students describe the weather by using vocabulary from the unit to supply information on a topic orally and then in writing. They are expected to pretend they are a meteorologist and describe the weather using vocabulary from the books they have read in the unit. The expectation by this unit is to consistently use drawings and words to answer questions about the text. They are expected to use details that connect directly with the question and the text throughout the unit. 
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 16, an extension activity is to have students write a thank-you letter to Martin Luther King, Jr. In the letter, they should identify what they learned from him and why.
  • In Unit 7 Lesson 10, students explain why different dinosaurs need different characteristics for survival and what would have happened if they all had the same characteristics by using words and illustrations to make inferences about key details in the text after reading Dinosaurs.
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 18, students write a letter to their friend describing if all dinosaurs are dangerous or not and why based on everything they have learned. 
  • In Unit 8, Lesson 12, students write about the different parts of the plant life cycle and what plants need in order to survive after reading several texts.

Indicator 1n

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

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Materials do not include instruction in language and grammar conventions. There was no evidence of students receiving explicit instruction and opportunities to apply learning both in and out of context.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The Fishtank Kindergarten materials provide a variety of texts throughout the units organized around specific topics and including a wide range of literary and informational texts to build students’ knowledge and vocabulary. Students engage in text analysis throughout all units that allow them to understand the language, structure, key ideas, and craft of individual texts. Text-dependent questions guide students as they interact with the texts and help them to integrate knowledge and ideas within and across texts. Culminating tasks, including a progression of focused, shared research projects within the materials are supported by strong questions and activities that build knowledge of the topic at hand and requires students to demonstrate their learning through a combination of writing and speaking. An intentional plan for developing content-area vocabulary is also present in the materials.

While the materials provide frequent opportunities for text-based writing, there is a lack of structured, direct instruction of writing.

The materials support students with suggestions and plans to integrate independent reading.

Criterion 2a - 2h

Materials build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language.
30/20
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Criterion Rating Details

The Fishtank Kindergarten materials provide a variety of texts throughout the units organized around specific topics and including a wide range of literary and informational texts to build students’ knowledge and vocabulary. Students engage in text analysis throughout all units that allow them to understand the language, structure, key ideas, and craft of individual texts. Text-dependent questions guide students as they interact with the texts and help them to integrate knowledge and ideas within and across texts. Culminating tasks, including a progression of focused, shared research projects within the materials are supported by strong questions and activities that build knowledge of the topic at hand and requires students to demonstrate their learning through a combination of writing and speaking. An intentional plan for developing content-area vocabulary is also present in the materials.

While the materials provide frequent opportunities for text-based writing, there is a lack of structured, direct instruction of writing. 

The materials support students with suggestions and plans to integrate independent reading.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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.

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten provide a variety of texts throughout the units which are organized around specific topics and that include a wide range of literary and expository texts to build students’ knowledge and vocabulary. Literary topics include Familiar Stories with predictable patterns and illustrations, Falling in Love with Authors and Illustrators which includes works by award winning authors such as Grace Lin, Monica Brown, and Jerry Pinkney.  Social Studies topics include, Biographies of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, science themes of weather in The Beauties of Fall, The Beauties of Winter as well as life science in Understanding Earth: Life Cycles.  In addition to gaining content knowledge, vocabulary is embedded throughout including literary terms, as well as targeted vocabulary to enhance understanding.   

  • Unit 1 is organized around a theme of being part of a community.
  • Unit 2 is organized around familiar texts with predictable texts.
  • Unit 3 is organized around the topic of Fall and fall harvests.
  • Unit 4 is organized around the works of five authors,  Grace Lin, Yuyi Morales, John Parra, Monica Brown and Jerry Pinkney. 
  • Unit 5 is organized around the topic of Winter. 
  • Unit 6 is organized around the biographies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks.
  • Unit 7 is organized around the topic of dinosaurs.
  • Unit 8 is organized around the topic of Life Cycles.

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 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.

Throughout the units, students complete questions and tasks that require analysis of individual texts.  They are provided multiple opportunities to analyze language in stories and passages, identify key ideas and details, and examine the structure of passages, pictures and texts as they relate to the unit topic.  Scaffolding is provided to students and the rigor of the material increases over the course of the year. Examples of sets of questions found in the instructional materials include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 7, while referencing the text, I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont, students are asked to use illustrations to help them figure out how the girls feels by asking, “How can you tell from the pictures that the little girl likes herself?”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 4, using the text, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen, students are asked to, “Analyze why the author and illustrator switch between color and black-and-white illustrations, by close reading a text to identify key details about author’s craft.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 2, using the text, Fall Weather: Cooler Temperatures by Martha E H Rustad, students explore weather and patterns of fall while, “Scholars observe the weather daily, record the temperature, and discuss what types of clothing they would wear based on the weather.”
  • Unit 4, Lesson 9, Nino Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales the lesson objective specifies: "Describe Nino and what lesson he learns by describing characters and major events in a story."
  • Unit 5, Lesson 6, Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, has a target task: "How does the author use descriptive language to help a reader understand the owl hunt? Give an example." 
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 9, using the text, National Geographic Kids: Rosa Parks by Kitson Jazynka, students are asked to, “Explain why Rosa Parks was influential and what lessons we can learn from her, by stating a claim and providing supporting evidence from multiple sources.”
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 2,  using the text, Fossils Tell of Long Ago by Aliki, students sequence events, “What is the first thing that happened to the fish? What happens next? How are the first and second steps connected?”
  • In Unit 8, Lesson 6, after reading the text, How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan, students are asked, “How does what we learned from this book match with our predictions from yesterday?”

Indicator 2c

Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-based questions and tasks that require students to build knowledge and integrate ideas across both individual and multiple texts.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten 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 instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations for materials containing a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.  Each of the units center around a topic or theme with embedded text dependent questions throughout. Students work with multiple texts throughout the materials that require them to analyze information, build knowledge and demonstrate understanding of material, often using discussion, graphic organizers, and illustrations that draws upon textual evidence by identifying key details, comparing and contrasting texts.

  •  Unit 1, Lesson 9, The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf as a Target Task asks students “What do the crayons learn about each other at the end of the story? Why is this important?” requiring students analyze information in the text.
  • Unit 2, Lesson 2, Jump, Frog, Jump! by Robert Kalan asks students to “Explain how the illustrations with Jump, Frog, Jump! help you better understand the story, by using the text and illustrations to retell key details from the text.”
  • Unit 3, Lesson 11, The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons — Stop at Pilgrims asks students “What was this text mostly about? What are three or four things you learned from this book?” requiring referencing and analyzing the text.
  • Unit 4, Lesson 23, The Lion & The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, asks students “How does Jerry Pinkney use the illustrations to help a reader understand what happens in The Lion & the Mouse?”
  • Unit 5, Lesson 11, Wolves by Gail Gibbons asks students to “Describe why the author states that wolves are not cruel, by retelling key details in a text and describing the connection between ideas in a text. “
  • Unit 6, Lesson 15, Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo, A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David A. Adler, Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Kadir Nelson, A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson, This Is the Dream by Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander students are asked to, “Compare and contrast all Martin Luther King Jr. biographies by identifying basic similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).” 
  • Unit 7, Lesson 17, Dinosaur Roar by Paul and Henrietta Stickland asks students to “Use descriptive words to describe a dinosaur by asking and answering questions about key details and words in a text.” 
  • Unit 8, Lesson 36, Recycle! A Handbook for Kids by Gail Gibbons asks students to “Explain why it is important to recycle cans and plastic and what would happen to the environment if cans and plastic weren’t recycled, by describing the connection between events and information in a text.”

Indicator 2d

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).
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g., combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).  Within the materials, there are opportunities for students to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics through completion of culminating tasks. In many instances, students are asked to produce work that shows mastery of several different standards (reading, writing, speaking and listening) at the appropriate grade level. 

  • Unit 1, Lesson 3, after reading, Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen, students are asked to, “Draw and write about what they will do to be a good listener in the classroom. After students have had time to work, they share their work with the entire class.”
  • Unit 2, Lesson 14, the Teacher Guide states, “Have the class decide on their favorite texts for the unit and explain why. Scholar explanations should include connections to a retell and repetition to show understanding of key unit skills. Then either as a class or in small groups, participate in multiple dramatic and interactive read-alouds of the favorite texts. When reading, have scholars read and act out the parts of the text that include repetition.”
  •  Unit 3, Lesson 9, students are asked to, “Complete a leaf-related project by using details from multiple texts to show understanding of leaves.” Activities include, “Going on a walk and finding leaves, making their own leaf men and telling a story with the leaves, leaf rubbing, etc.”
  • Unit 4, Lesson 17, students are asked to, “Participate in a class discussion on where John Parra gets his inspiration and what he likes to illustrate. Write an opinion piece about which John Parra story is your favorite and why by stating an opinion and supporting it with a reason.”
  •  Unit 5, Lesson 14, students are asked to, “Explain what animals need to survive the winter by using a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to retell what they learned about animals in winter.”
  • Unit 6, Lessons 15 and 16, students are asked to, “Compare and contrast all Martin Luther King Jr. biographies by identifying basic similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic.” The Teacher Guide further states that this task will, “Correspond with the writing/discussion scholars will have in lesson 18.”
  • Unit 7, Lesson 16, students are asked to, “Research and learn about the dinosaur, specifically what made the dinosaur different from other dinosaurs and how the dinosaur’s body parts helped it survive. Create a visual and written report about the dinosaur. Scholars should then share what they learned in partners or with the class.”

Indicator 2e

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

The materials reviewed for 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 instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet expectations for including a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Opportunities to build vocabulary are found throughout the instructional materials. There are established routines for teaching vocabulary including a seven step process that includes repetition, definition, part of speech, examples in context as well as other word concept knowledge.  Vocabulary instruction calls for students to think about the meaning of words and definitions are provided in student-friendly language. Word meanings are taught with examples related to the text as well as examples from other, more familiar contexts. Every unit provides instruction in literary terms as well as text based content vocabulary. Strategies for teaching students how to understand meanings of unknown words are also embedded and include using context, word parts, literal and figurative language as well as traditional classroom resources.

  • Unit 1, Lesson 4, students brainstorm helpful words for the classroom.  Then, the Teacher Guide states, “After reading, give scholars a collection of words to sort into helpful and kind or hurtful and unkind.”
  • Unit 2, Lesson 5, the vocabulary over, under around and through is embedded in the lesson using the text, We’re Going on a Lion Hunt by David Axtell.
  • Unit 3, Lesson 9, students, “Review all vocabulary to complete a leaf-related project by using details from multiple texts to show understanding of leaves.”
  • Unit 4, Lesson 5, the directions state, “Grace Lin says 'a magical aroma filled the air.' Using the picture and word clues, what does the word 'aroma' mean? How do you know?”
  • Unit 5 students, “Start by exploring generic weather words and then transition into winter-specific words” as they pretend to be meteorologists and learn about weather forecasts.
  • Unit 6, Lesson 7, vocabulary is embedded in the topic of Jim Crowe laws using the term boycott.  The text based questions ask, “What is a boycott? Why did African-Americans decide to boycott?”

Indicator 2f

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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially 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 instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectation for materials supporting students’ increasing writing skills, and building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year. While rubrics are provided for both short answer and lengthier writing activities, the ELA Program Overview explicitly states, “We do not ask scholars to use formulas, templates, graphic organizers, etc., as the primary method for structuring evidence-based essays.  Scholars regularly write about what they read.” The ancillary materials provide Teacher Feedback as a Teaching Tool recommendations for writing and the Unit Summaries provide recommendations within the Writing Focus Area for teachers, however, while the design is intended to use student work and teacher feedback to improve and increase writing skill, the absence of structured, direct instruction can be challenging for teachers and impact students ability to demonstrate growing proficiency. Although there is not a specified writing for every lesson, the Publisher’s Documents specify that students should spend a minimum of 45 minutes daily working on writing. The key questions and target tasks provide multiple opportunities to have students respond to text when there is not a specified writing ask. The writing focus and expectations for each unit are outlined in the Unit Overviews and are:

  • Unit 1 Overview states, “The priority for this unit is building strong foundations for writing in response to reading.”
    • Lesson 1, the Teacher Guide states, “After reading Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes, have scholars draw a picture of how they are feeling on the first day of school. Or have scholars draw a picture of something they are excited about for the upcoming school year.”
  • Unit 2, writing focus is to continue to write daily in response to text using a combination of writing and drawing. Students write at their ability with some being more adept at writing with words and others being more reliant on pictures at this point.
    • Unit Assessment for writing the students are asked to, “Write about what makes one of the authors from the unit special.” With structures provided for both illustration and written responses.
  • Unit 3, students continue to use a combination of pictures and words to write in response to text. The Unit Overview states that “Due to the varying ranges in ability, individualized feedback is incredibly important to ensure that scholars are progressing toward the target of using a combination of drawings and words to correctly answer a question.”
    • assessment tasks states, “Listen to Busy Animals, Learning about Animals in Autumn and draw/write to answer: How do animals get ready for winter? Give 2 examples.”
  • Unit 4 continues student writing in a combination of pictures and words with a focus on increasing students' abilities to write with words. Students are progressing in writing with some “ready to include more advanced ideas such as inferences, critical thinking or facts to support their answers.”
    • Lesson 17 the writing prompt states, “Write a letter to John Parra. Identify which text is your favorite and why.”
  • Unit 5, at this point students are more confident in writing with words and pictures and now there is more focus on students using accurate analysis in their responding to text in writing.
    • Lesson 20 asks students to “Write an opinion piece about which Jan Brett story was your favorite and why by stating an opinion and supporting it with a reason.”
  • Unit 6, students continue to write in response to text with details from the text. The emphasis at this point is to include more words than pictures. 
    • Lesson 9 has as a task “As an extension, have scholars write a thank-you letter to Rosa Parks. In the thank-you letter, they should explain what they learned from her and how she helped make the world a better place."
  • Unit 7, continues the focus on including details in responding to text and in increasing the words over the number of pictures. 
    • Lesson 6, Explain how people learned about dinosaurs, by using a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose an informative text that supplies information about a topic. 
  • Unit 8 is a culminating writing focus with all previous lessons being combined. The focus at this point is to ensure that all students can write sufficient to score a 3 or 4 on the writing rubric.

Indicator 2g

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for 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.

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten contain a progression of research and writing projects that allow for students to develop knowledge and understanding a topic using various texts and source materials. At the end of many units, there are projects that require students to review, analyze and synthesize their understanding of specific topics culminating into a final project or activity.  Throughout the units there is a progression of tasks that build student knowledge using reading, writing, and speaking/listening skills. Examples of culminating activities include but are not limited to varied oral and dramatic presentations, reports, interviews, and labs. 

  •  Unit 1, Lesson 15, students are asked to draw and write, “How can you make the classroom a joyful place to be?”  The Lesson Notes state, “This will be used as a benchmark for where scholars are on the writing about reading rubric and will be used to guide feedback and instruction in unit 2.”
  • Unit 2, Lesson 14, the culminating activity/project has students, “Decide on their favorite texts for the unit and explain why.”  The Teacher Guide states that, “Scholar explanations should include connections to a retell and repetition to show understanding of key unit skills. Then either as a class or in small groups, participate in multiple dramatic and interactive read-alouds of the favorite texts.”
  • Unit 3, Lesson 9, the students, “Complete a leaf-related project by using details from multiple texts to show understanding of leaves.”
  • Unit 4, Lesson 28, students are given the choice of three projects that will, “Synthesize everything that they have learned from the course of the unit.”  These include, “Creating an author/illustrator commercial, plan an interview with their favorite author, or create an award for the author.”
  • Unit 5, Lesson 21, the students use data collected throughout the unit to, “Create a weather forecast that describes what weather is like in the winter and how it impacts different living things, by sharing observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.”
  • Unit 6, the Unit Summary states, “After reading multiple biographies, scholars will then compare and contrast the ways in which the authors present points in both texts.”
  • Unit 7, Lesson 16 states, “The focus of this lesson is on participating in either a class or individual research project. This lesson can be spread across as many days as needed.  Gather a collection of additional dinosaur texts, either from the same series as lessons 11–15 or from beginning readers that are closer to scholar reading levels.”
  • Unit 8, Lesson 4, students are asked to complete a project/lab to, “Determine the characteristics of living, nonliving, and dead things by participating in a hands-on activity that challenges scholars to observe and make connections about scientific concepts”

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 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.

The Text Consumption Guidance document provides the rationale for independent reading and explains that during independent reading, students gain independence by reading a text on their own that requires them to use all of the strategies learned in class. During independent reading, students actively annotate and make meaning of the text with limited support from the teacher or peers. The materials suggest that independent reading can be used at the end of the lesson as independent practice, on days when the majority of the text is accessible and/or there are features of the text students need to practice accessing independently, or at the beginning of the lesson to allow time for independent analysis before a close-read or a discussion.

Gateway Three

Usability

Does Not Meet Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The materials for Kindergarten do not meet expectations for use and design that facilitates student learning. Because the materials are designed as more of a detailed information is not present for all aspects of lesson planning and support. In order to meet expectations for knowledge-building, the science and social studies units that must be taught alongside the English language arts units may present a challenge for completion within a typical school year. Materials lack a set of student materials that provide support for the lessons.

The materials provide an alignment document to delineate the standards met in each unit.

Criterion 3a - 3e

Use and design facilitate student learning: Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
3/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials for Kindergarten do not meet expectations for use and design that facilitates student learning. Because the materials are designed as more of a detailed information is not present for all aspects of lesson planning and support. In order to meet expectations for knowledge-building, the science and social studies units that must be taught alongside the English language arts units may present a challenge for completion within a typical school year. Materials lack a set of student materials that provide support for the lessons.

The materials provide an alignment document to delineate the standards met in each unit.

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The instructional materials in Kindergarten provide a framework for lesson planning instead of a detailed lesson plan for most of the lessons. These frameworks provide guidance for the teacher in what material to teach and key questions to ask, but do not provide pacing for individual lesson for the teacher. These Frameworks, when combined with the Publisher’s Document on Planning an Effective Lesson allow the teacher to have the materials to effectively structure lessons with appropriate pacing in his/her classroom. Additionally, a limited number of lessons have suggested lesson plans, that include pacing and a structure that serve as an example of how a teacher can develop the lesson frames into step-by-step lessons for use in the classroom. Kindergarten instruction is broken up into blocks of 45 minutes of Literacy, 45 minutes of Word Study, and 45 minutes of Writer’s Workshop.  In addition to those blocks, there is a 60 minute Guided Reading block for targeted reading instruction in comprehension, fluency, and word-work based on student needs. Time is also set aside for Independent Reading for 20 minutes a day by the end of the year as well as a 40 minute Learning Lab for activities connected to the themes and content being studied that week.  

According to the Publisher, the lessons are meant to be frameworks. While the lessons provide the main components of the lessons, the detailed planning is left up to the teachers. The goal is for teachers to internalize the content and adapt it to meet the needs of the students. The Publisher suggests that teachers take the following steps when planning a lesson:

  • Look at the lesson objective, target task, and standards. Write an exemplar student response to the target task.
  • Pick a focus for the lesson
  • Decide on class structures
  • Determine how to launch the text, including what background knowledge students need
  • Determine how to engage with the text while reading
  • Figure out what structures will be in place to help students make sense with what they have learned
  • Plan for feedback and how to gather data
  • Determine all accommodations and modifications

Lesson objective, reading materials required for the lesson, standards covered, target task, vocabulary, key questions, criteria for success, mastery response, and notes provide the basic framework for teachers. These lessons do not provide any suggested timing or pacing for the lesson, but they allow for flexibility to meet the meets of the individual classroom. For example in Unit 4, Lesson 15, the objective is to explain what the little boy is thankful for and how the illustrations help a reader better understand what they boy is thankful for by using details and illustrations to retell key details and events in a text. The target task is how do the illustrations help the reader better understand the boy and a mastery response is provided.

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.

Due to scheduling constraints, the total number of lessons may be more than can be planned or completed in a typical 180 day school year in a traditional school setting. The lesson framework provides the outline for core instruction; however, many of the lessons within the framework need to be developed through teacher design. In addition to pacing, the daily schedule sample, which is found in the Literary Blocks description in the Publisher’s Document has an eight hour school day, which is not the norm in every school and may change the actual number of days needed for instruction. 

The Units have approximately 180 lessons and 181 days of instruction. In addition, there are several projects such as in Unit 3, Lesson 9 and Unit 4, Lesson 28 that states in the lesson framework that the project could span over the course of several days.  According to the Publisher’s Document, classroom instruction while using this program should include 45 minutes of Literature, which includes science and social studies, 45 minutes of word study, 45 minutes of writing workshop, 20 minutes of independent reading, 60 minutes of guided reading, plus 45 - 60 minutes of learning labs, which is when students engage with unit content in different play - based scenarios in order to practice vocabulary and deepen understanding of the concepts.

Indicator 3c

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

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (eg. visuals, maps, etc.)

The lesson frameworks do not supply student materials or reference aids. The books that students use are purchased individually for the students to annotate throughout the year.

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

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

 Standards are included for each lesson. There is an overview in each unit summary that lists all of the standards covered in the unit. This overview is not separated by lesson, nor do the lessons specify which questions or tasks align to the standards for the lesson. The Units contain a Standards Map within the Unit Overview that indicates which standards are taught within each unit. In the course overview, each unit is labeled and the literature, informational, writing, speaking & listening, and language standards are identified for each unit they are in. 

Unit Summaries list out the standards for the entire unit, but do not specify which lessons, questions, or tasks. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening standards are identified. Lessons list the individual standards covered; however, in some lessons, all standards are not identified. 

While questions and tasks are not labeled by standard, assessment questions are labeled by the standards. For example, in Unit 6, one assessment question is explain why Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks is important. This is tagged to the standards W.K.1, L.K.1, and L.K.2.

Indicator 3e

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

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria that the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

There is no material provided for student consumption except individual books. Therefore, no rating can be assigned. The online framework is designed for teacher use and the only materials suggested for student use are published texts. 

Criterion 3f - 3j

Teacher planning and learning for success with CCSS: Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
5/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials partially support teacher planning and learning for success with the standards. While support is provided for some pieces of the learning process (e.g., guides for writing, guidelines for teaching vocabulary), there is a lack of explicit and lesson-specific support for some lessons. There is also limited support to link teachers to research on best practices for the ELA classroom and the research base that the program. There is limited guidance for communications with families to provide a home/school partnership to support the standards within and across units.

Indicator 3f

Materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations that materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. While there is no traditional “Teacher’s Edition” within the materials, the online framework lays out every Grade Level with a Course Summary and Course Map and every Unit with a Unit Summary as well as standards, unit preparation, and lessons.Each Lesson contains an objective, specific text(s) needed, standards covered, target task, key questions, and in some lessons notes for the educator.Although each lesson is not scripted, there are publisher materials that provide guidance for teachers on how to present content to students. For example there are guidelines for teaching vocabulary and giving feedback. There is also a guide to informational writing, literary analysis writing, and narrative writing. These explain how to present the content. However, these guidelines are not for specific units or specific vocabulary words, and the teachers need to create the lessons based on the guidelines. There are also Match Minis, which provide further assistance for teachers on how to present material and use techniques to develop lessons.

While there is a myriad of materials to assist and guide the teacher to develop well-structured lessons, this design could be challenging for new or inexperienced educators to navigate without targeted professional development. Also, there is limited evidence of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning. 

  • Planning a Lesson Guideline specifically states that the intent is to provide a “skinny” framework that provides frameworks rather than detailed lesson plans. It further explains that the main components of the lessons are provided but that detailed planning is left up to the individual teacher.
  • Unit 1, Intellectual Prep under Internalizing the Standards provides guidance for teachers in what to do but does not provide specific information on how to prepare or what to choose as a topic to teach: “Read the unit texts. Identify what can be learned from each text and how it connects to the unit theme of what it means to be part of a classroom community. Identify connections between each text and how the texts build to create a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of a joyful classroom community.”
  • Unit 5, Intellectual Prep specifies that it is up to the teacher to determine projects for the students to complete within the Unit: “Think of projects and learning labs for scholars to do that bring the content and material to life. Scholars should complete a project after each bend of the unit to help internalize the material.”

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.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.The materials do not contain a traditional teacher’s edition, however their online instructional guide provides teachers with a framework for teaching thematic units and lessons. Publisher documents provide guidance for teachers to design instruction and prepare lessons including explanations of some of the literacy concepts utilized in the program. Within the units, the Intellectual Prep contains a Content Knowledge and Connections section which provides further guidance for teachers. In some units this section provides guidance in a literacy concept such as poetry or mythology however in others it is more connected to understanding a thematic concept such as bullying.

  •  Feedback as a Teaching Tool provides detailed explanations of the approach to writing instruction and examples of how to implement the literacy concept of revising writing. Some examples include:
    • Students ​need ​help ​with ​revision, ​and ​thus ​feedback ​from ​teachers ​or ​peers ​is ​essential. Ways ​to ​provide ​writing ​feedback ​are:
      •  Have ​students ​do ​multiple ​drafts ​of ​written ​responses ​to ​questions ​while ​applying ​feedback 
      • Share ​exemplary ​work ​with ​students ​and ​help ​them ​identify ​key ​features ​to ​replicate 
      • Share ​examples ​of ​student ​work ​with ​common ​errors ​and ​collectively ​correct ​them ​before all ​students ​revise ​their ​writing ​to ​address ​similar ​errors 
  • Rigorous Discussion Guidelines informs the teacher: Rigorous discussion explicitly increases student thinking by challenging students to test out their ideas, build on those of their peers and craft persuasive arguments. The length and format of a rigorous discussion can and should vary, however, a rigorous discussion should always require students to evaluate and test their initial thinking by considering the ideas and evidence presented by others. A well executed discussion leads students to a deeper and more nuanced understanding of a single task and its application to other tasks. Further, rigorous discussion engages the entire class for an extended period of time. During the discussion the teacher’s voice is not central and there is clear evidence of academic ownership by students. The following guidelines explain what a teacher can do to use discussions effectively to promote learning. Teachers are not expected to use all these strategies at once but will tailor their activities based on the focus of the discussion and the grade level of the students.
  • In Unit 2 Lesson 6, for the close read of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, the Teacher Guide states, “This lesson should also be used as a chance to model/explain to scholars how to actively engage in a reread of a text. Have scholars participate in a dramatic read of the text and act out parts of the text as they read.”
  • In Unit 7, Lesson 2, the Teacher Guide states, “This lesson connects to the standard of scholars being able to describe the difference between texts. At the most basic level, scholars should be able to describe that the books from the first part of the unit were informational and this one is fiction."

Indicator 3h

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

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meets the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. While there is not a traditional Teacher’s Edition included with this program, Fishtank ELA K-2 includes an electronic overview of the curriculum which includes standards charts and unit progressions. The Publisher’s Document entitled K2 Literature Overview provides a direct explanation of how the standards are tied to the lessons in the unit.

  • The K-2 Literature Overview Publisher’s Document, Kindergarten Literature explains the role of the standards in the course. It statesThe key standards-based comprehension focuses and strategies for Kindergarten Literature are: 
    • Asking and answering questions about key details
    • Determining key details to include in a retell or to support the main topic
    • Understanding genre and author/illustrator roles 
  • Connections to the overall curriculum are included within the same document explaining:
      • Asking and answering questions are stressed due to the importance of students learning that reading is an active and not a passive activity which helps them learn to understand the text.
      • Standards of identifying key details are stressed to build reading comprehension and prepare for Grade 1.
      • An emphasis placed on achieving standards regarding the roles of authors and illustrators because it is not included in either pre-K or Grade 1 standards necessitating and emphasis at this level.

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies. The publisher materials include a document specifically dedicated to the explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and when they should be implemented. Some of the strategies included are, Think Aloud, Mini Lesson, Turn & Talk, Stop & Jot, Annotation, Discussion, Vocabulary, and Writing about Reading.While there is a clear explanation of instructional approaches, what appears to be lacking is an overview of the research that led to the design of those instructional strategies.

  • Examples of the Instructional Strategies explained include but are not limited to
    • Think Aloud, “The purpose of a think-aloud is to give scholars a glimpse into the teacher’s brain so that scholars can visualize the types of behaviors good readers engage in while reading.”
    • Turn and Talk: “Turn and Talks re a low-risk oral language strategy that provide scaffolded opportunities for all students to formulate and build upon each other's ideas."
    • Mini-lessons: “Short lessons, between five and ten minutes, that have a narrow focus on a strategy or skill that students need in order to access the text or target task question.”

Indicator 3j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

There is a program overview provided publicly for consumers and it explains the approach to curriculum that Fishtank ELA K-2 uses as well as information about the program, however, there is limited to no evidence about the role that parents/guardians should play to support student growth and success.

The About Match link on the publisher’s website states, “Our curriculum is widely relevant to teachers across the US, particularly those who share our commitment to rigorous, standards-driven and college-ready instruction.”

  • The Approach to Curriculum link on the publisher’s website states, “We think teachers should spend more time planning how to teach — with the unique learning needs of their students in mind—and less time worrying about the basics of what to teach. Good baseline curriculum and assessments free teachers to do just that.”

The ELA Program Overview states, “Through our ELA curriculum we seek to develop voracious readers who are eager to grapple with complex texts [and] prepare our students for academic and life success by building their background and core knowledge.”

Criterion 3k - 3n

Assessment: Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
4/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The materials offer regular assessments that allow teachers to accurately assess student progress and to determine how students are progressing in their mastery of the standards and other content. However, there is limited support to guide teachers in their interpretation of assessment results to redirect, reteach, and support students who have not reached mastery and minimal guidance for monitoring of student progress.

The materials provide a systematic approach to supporting students in reading independently and assuring that students are achieving a volume of reading both at school and at home.

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectation that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.


Each unit contains a Unit Assessment that assesses focus standards for the unit with most also containing an extended response that assesses both literature standards and writing standards. 

Included within lessons are Target Tasks, which is often a writing prompt. The writing prompts include mastery responses to help teachers evaluate students’ answers. . Target Tasks can be utilized as formative assessments to regularly measure student progress. Some lessons include key questions, which provide an opportunity for assessing student mastery. Additional lessons include projects and writing prompts that function as assessments of student mastery of both content and literary standards. Examples of formative assessments opportunities include:

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 11, several key questions are asked, which can be used to assess progress including what key facts are we learning about pumpkins.
  • In Unit 8, Lesson 6, the Target Task asks students how seeds change as they grow and what they need in order to grow. A mastery response is included. 

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectation that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

 Assessments included with each unit specify the standard being assessed. Each question on the assessment is labeled with the coordinating standard number(s). 

Examples of assessment questions and the corresponding labeled standards include:

  • In Unit 3, students are asked to pick two of the words from the box and draw a picture that shows what the word means, which is labeled L.K.6.
  • In Unit 5, students are asked what happens to living things in winter, which is labeled W.K.1, L.K.1, L.K.2. 
  • In Science and Social Studies, Unit 4, students are asked what the word armor means as used in paragraph 2 of the text which is labeled RI3.4 and L3.4a
  • In Unit 7, students are asked to pick a dinosaur and explain how the dinosaur’s different body parts help it to survive, which is labeled RI.K.3, W.K.2, L.K.1, L.K.2. 

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the expectation that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up. Although there are scoring guides accompanying the Kindergarten Unit Assessments there is no guidance given for interpreting student performance and/or suggestions for follow up.

Indicator 3m

Materials include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the expectation that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

Although a limited number of lessons provide guidance within the lesson on developing routines and guidance for monitoring student progress through the collection of data, the publisher provides multiple documents that include both general and specific routines and protocols for gathering information on student progress to drive instruction and adjust, as needed. These documents provide the teacher with the rationale on why gathering data is essential and the process by which to gather data. They explain that the teachers use the information gathered to make individual classroom decisions to maximize instruction. 

The Teacher Feedback as a Teaching Tool provides guidance on collecting information in a variety of teaching areas. For example, the information to gather in reading includes:

  • Ask questions to help students make connections, revisit misunderstandings and uncover deeper meaning of text
  • Listen to students read aloud or whisper read in a group to identify moments for correction
  • Conference with students to provide guidance on specific reading skills
  • Monitor annotations to ensure students are noticing key moments
  • Use short comprehension questions mid - reading to monitor comprehension
  • Point out moments of misanalysis or misunderstanding and ask students to re-read

The Planning a Lesson Document includes a place for teachers to plan for feedback and gather data. However, it does not provide a specific protocol for doing so. Suggestions for ways to gather the data are included within this guidance. It tells teachers to plan for how to give feedback and gather student data. It also gives questions to consider such as how will the teacher circulate to give feedback and check for understanding and what type of data will be gathered. However, no answers are provided.

In the Rigorous Discussion Guide there is information on how data should be gathered to drive instruction. This includes:

  • Tracking data from the discussion such as actively monitoring individual student readiness to transition to the written synthesis task
  • Using data to inform current class including celebrating multiple strategies used by students to arrive at the same outcome
  • Steps to take after the discussion including using data to inform future classes, though no specifics on how to do this is provided. 

Indicator 3n

Indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

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

The Teacher Tools link on the website provides an English Language Arts Guides specifically titled, “Our Approach to Independent Reading.”  This guide provides a template for “Independent Weekly Planning” as well as a suggested independent reading list by grade level, parent/guardian letter to explain the purpose of independent reading for 20 minutes each night at home and an independent reading log for students to keep track of their reading.  There are also options for independent conferencing.

The publisher states, “We believe students need to engage in a volume of reading inside and outside of class.  Students need opportunities to read independently in order to access a large volume of complex texts, build knowledge, and develop a love of reading.”  In order to achieve this, it is recommended that students have independent reading assigned daily for homework in addition to 45-60 minutes of an independent reading block scheduled in class.  The guide states, “Both of these additional opportunities for independent reading are crucial components of student literacy development, and should be facilitated alongside our core Literature and Science and Social Studies curriculum.”

Criterion 3o - 3r

Differentiated instruction: Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
5/10
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The materials do not meet expectations for providing support for differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners. While generalized support and suggestions for grouping strategies for students with disabilities, students for whom English is a second language, and students performing above grade level is described in supporting documents, specific supports within each lesson or unit are not provided.

Indicator 3o

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meets, the expectation that 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. The publisher document for Instructional Strategies states that, “The manner in which skills and strategies are introduced, practiced, and reinforced depends on the demands of the text, the target task, the scope of the week, and student needs. Each day there is a Guided Reading Block that provides the opportunity for targeted comprehension, fluency, or vocabulary instruction based upon student needs. The materials also include a guide for Supporting ​Students ​in ​ELA ​Instruction that provides instructional methods for all types of supports from standard to intensive. Although the lesson frameworks are written in one manner with material for all learners, Publisher’s Documents explain the approach to meeting the needs of diverse learners and provide strategies for meeting these students needs. The Supporting Student Needs in ELA instruction provides specific guidance in how to meet the needs of learners while still requiring students to meet the standards. The document explains specifically the publisher’s practice of supporting learners while still requiring students to perform at grade-level standards: “While ​the ​curriculum requires ​a ​lot ​from ​our ​students, ​the ​teacher ​has ​an ​important ​role ​to ​play ​in ​supporting students ​when ​they ​struggle ​and ​ensuring ​that ​students ​don’t ​struggle ​unproductively. Teachers ​need ​to ​provide ​supports ​that ​never ​remove ​the ​most ​important ​thinking ​and meaning-making, ​while ​ensuring ​that ​students ​can ​access ​those ​thinking ​tasks.” Examples include:

  • Publisher’s Document, “Supporting Student Needs in ELA Instruction”
    • Supports for all students:
      • Build ​excitement ​and ​enthusiasm ​for ​the ​text ​and ​task 
      • Build ​strong ​reading ​and ​writing ​habits 
      • Preview ​genre ​knowledge 
      • Circulate ​and ​provide ​feedback ​during ​reading ​and ​writing ​for ​individuals and ​the ​group 
      • Identify ​and/or ​pre-teach ​~2 ​key ​vocabulary ​words 
      • Provide ​essential ​background ​knowledge ​via ​other ​texts ​or ​preview
    • Least Intensive support for many students
      • Check ​in ​with ​the ​student ​more ​frequently ​to ​ensure ​they ​are ​reading and/or ​writing ​appropriately ​during ​independent ​work 
      • Preview ​the ​most ​important ​~3 ​polysemous ​words ​or ​Tier ​2 ​words ​from ​the text ​individually ​or ​in ​a ​small ​group ​with ​quick ​connotative ​definitions ​and example ​sentences 
      • Teach ​the ​student ​additional ​literal ​comprehension ​annotation ​strategies to ​use ​during ​homework ​and/or ​independent ​reading 
      • Prompt ​the ​student ​to ​verbally ​share ​a ​plan ​for ​writing ​before ​writing
    • More Intensive supports for some students:
      • Create ​additional ​stopping ​points ​to ​pause ​the ​student’s’ ​reading ​and ​ask questions ​to ​build ​comprehension 
      • Create ​an ​opportunity, ​in ​a ​small ​group ​or ​individually, ​for ​the ​student ​to read ​the ​text ​and ​build ​comprehension ​before ​the ​lesson 
      • Provide ​an ​accommodated ​copy ​of ​the ​text ​that ​includes ​definitions, pictures, ​or ​synonyms ​for ​key ​vocabulary ​and/or ​idioms ​(ELs ​at ​ELD ​level 1-2, ​sometimes ​level ​3) 
      • Provide ​a ​chance ​for ​the ​student ​to ​orally ​plan ​with ​a ​teacher ​or ​peer before ​writing 
      • Provide ​check-lists ​and/or ​exemplar ​texts ​for ​reference ​while ​writing 
      • Segment ​the ​text ​based ​on ​importance ​and ​guide ​the ​student ​to ​read some ​parts ​more ​closely ​than ​others 
    • Most Intensive supports for a few students:
      • Provide ​a ​read-aloud ​support ​to ​the ​student ​before ​the ​lesson ​for independently ​read ​sections ​of ​texts, ​either ​by ​reading ​together ​before ​the lesson ​or ​sending ​home ​a ​read-aloud ​resource 
      • Provide ​a ​graphic ​organizer ​for ​the ​student ​to ​organize ​their ​written responses 
      • Shorten ​the ​section ​of ​text ​the ​student ​is ​expected ​to ​read
    • Supports that should rarely be used unless specified by an IEP
      • Modify ​the ​lesson’s ​key ​or ​guiding ​question ​to ​make ​easier 
      • Excuse ​the ​student ​from ​some ​or ​all ​of ​a ​challenging ​assignment 
      • Scribe ​the ​student’s ​written ​responses ​(in ​early ​childhood ​this ​is ​more common)
    • Additional supports are suggested to use in helping students gain maximum understanding:
      • Provide ​students ​with ​cues ​to ​help ​them ​engage ​in ​productive ​struggle. Example:
        • When ​else: ​Ask ​questions ​that ​point ​students ​towards ​a ​known ​piece ​of ​knowledge ​or ​skill they ​can ​employ ​to ​begin ​the ​task. ​For ​example, ​“When ​else ​have ​you ​seen ​an ​author ​use clues ​to ​show ​us ​how ​the ​character ​is ​feeling? ​How ​could ​we ​use ​that ​here?”
      • Probe ​for ​and ​uncover ​student ​thinking ​errors ​to ​clarify ​what ​needs ​to ​be ​retaught. Example: 
        • Compare ​two ​responses: ​Ask ​a ​question ​that ​prompts ​students ​to ​compare ​two ​possible answers ​in ​order ​to ​elicit ​more ​precise ​understanding ​or ​to ​push ​their ​skills ​to ​the ​next ​level. For ​example, ​“Tara ​said ​the ​narrator ​is ​reliable ​because ​he ​was ​there, ​but ​Noah ​said ​the narrator ​is ​unreliable ​because ​he ​is ​a ​small ​child; ​who ​is ​correct?”
      • Prompt ​students ​to ​correct ​their ​own ​errors ​or ​refine ​thinking. Examples:
        • Provide ​a ​rule ​and ​toss ​it ​back: ​Ask ​students ​to ​take ​a ​rule ​and ​use ​it ​to ​refine ​thinking ​to ​be more ​precise ​or ​accurate. ​For ​example, ​“In ​addition ​to ​the ​beginning ​of ​sentences, ​we ​also use ​capitals ​for ​proper ​names ​of ​people, ​places, ​ideas ​and ​specific ​things. ​Given ​that, ​are there ​any ​other ​places ​we ​need ​a ​capital ​letter ​in ​our ​writing?
      • Remediate ​student ​error ​without ​doing ​all ​the ​thinking 
        •  Eliminate ​a ​false ​choice: Ask ​a ​question ​that ​rules ​out ​an ​easily ​eliminated ​false ​choice ​in order ​to ​help ​students ​focus ​their ​thinking ​on ​the ​more ​important ​moment ​of understanding, ​“We ​know ​this ​character ​is ​not ​called ​Cinderella, ​but ​that ​was ​true ​in ​some ​of the ​other ​Cinderella ​stories ​we ​read. ​How ​else ​could ​we ​determine ​if ​this ​is ​a ​Cinderella story?”

Indicator 3p

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectation that materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards. 

The Publisher’s Document explicitly states that the teachers need to provide supports that never remove the most important thinking and meaning-making, while ensuring that students can access those thinking tasks. It explains that the goal is to support students while still requiring students to perform at grade-level standards. Teachers can use the supports outlined in this document to help students who are English Language Learners work with the grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

Indicator 3q

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

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the expectation that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. Extension and/or advanced learning opportunities were not evident within the materials. There was little to no guidance for students who quickly master content and could benefit from challenging experiences to expand their learning.

 There are no extensions or advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. 

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectation that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. The materials allow for a multitude of grouping strategies including shared reading, partner reading, small group reading, and guided reading groups. 

  • Examples of grouping strategies include:
    • In Shared Reading, “Every student has a copy of the text or can see the text and a fluent reader (teacher or student) reads the text aloud and students read along at the same time, stopping periodically to monitor comprehension.”
    •  In Partner Reading, “Partner reading is a cooperative learning strategy in which two or more students work together in a structured manner to read and engage with a text.”
    • In Small Group Reading, “Small-group reading is done when a teacher pulls a sub-set of students during class to re-teach or review a targeted concept.”
    • In Guided Reading, “Students are placed into groups using data from the STEP reading assessment. Teachers plan group rotation and adjust frequency based on individual data.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The materials do not meet overall expectations for technology use. While the materials and platform are teacher-friendly and easily navigated, there is no support in the materials themselves to support or teacher use of technology, including digital collaboration, local customization, and personalization of learning.

Indicator 3s

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectation that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

The materials are web-based and digital. They are compatible with Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Firefox. The materials are also Platform Neutral, working on Apple products, Android phones, and a Windows based computer. 

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the expectation that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate. 

The materials do not include use of technology in student learning other than providing links to some materials used as texts in the units. However, all of these texts can be printed.

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the expectation that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

The digital materials are for teachers, and are not able to be personalized for students or teachers. Teachers can download materials including assessments, lesson frames, and sample lessons, but they cannot be edited.

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectation that materials can be easily customized for local use.

The materials can be used by teachers across the country, and schools can customize as needed for local use. Teachers are given choice in how to teach the daily objectives, teachers can customize the lessons for their classroom. The framework provided to plan lessons allows local schools and teachers to customize the program for individual use.

Indicator 3v

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the expectation that materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.)

There are no opportunities in the materials that allow teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other. There are no websites, discussion groups, or webinars that allow teachers and/or students to interact electronically.

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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 02/24/2020

Report Edition: 2018

https://www.matchfishtank.org/curriculum/elementary-ela-edreports/

About Publishers Responses

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

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

About Technology Information

EdReports requested that publishers fill out The Instructional Materials Technology Information document about each of their products that met our alignment criteria. This document does not evaluate the quality or desirability of any product functionality, but documents features in order to empower local schools and districts with information to select materials that will work best for them given their technological capabilities and instructional vision.

Please note: Beginning in spring 2020, reports developed by EdReports.org will be using an updated version of our review tools. View draft versions of our revised review criteria here.

Educator-Led Review Teams

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

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

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

Rubric Design

The EdReports.org’s rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of standards alignment to the fundamental design elements of the materials and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum as recommended by educators.

Advancing Through Gateways

  • Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators to move along the process. Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment. 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).

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

  • Indicator Specific item that reviewers look for in materials.
  • Criterion Combination of all of the individual indicators for a single focus area.
  • Gateway Organizing feature of the evaluation rubric that combines criteria and prioritizes order for sequential review.
  • Alignment Rating Degree to which materials meet expectations for alignment, 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.
  • Usability Degree to which materials are consistent with effective practices for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

ELA K-2 (No Foundational Skills) Rubric and Evidence Guides

** These review tools are intended to be used for comprehensive programs that do not contain a foundational skills component and are instead designed to be implemented with a supplement.**

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

  • Text Quality and Complexity, and Alignment to Standards with Tasks Grounded in Evidence
  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks
  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

This product is an open educational resource and therefore does not have ISBNs. Please visit the publisher site for more information: https://www.matchfishtank.org/curriculum/elementary-ela-edreports.

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.

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

Math High School

ELA K-2

ELA 3-5

ELA 6-8


ELA High School

Science Middle School

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