Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectations of alignment. Rigorous, engaging texts are high quality and are organized to be the central focus of lessons while supporting Grade 8 students’ knowledge building. The materials support student growth in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and developing language skills over the course of the school year, with attention to close reading and analysis of texts, topics, and themes. The materials also meet the expectations for instructional supports and usability, with guidance for differentiation and program design for implementation.

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Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
17
32
36
36
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

|

Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
31
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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectations for high-quality texts are the central focus of lessons, are at the appropriate grade-level text complexity, and are accompanied by quality tasks aligned to the standards of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in service to grow literacy skills. Texts are worthy of students’ time and attention, are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students’ advancing toward independent reading and provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.

Criterion 1a - 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criterion for texts are worthy of students’ time and attention, are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students’ advancing toward independent reading.  Anchor texts are of publishable quality, worthy of careful reading, and consider a range of student interests, and the materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level. Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task and the materials support students’ literacy skills (understanding and comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills. 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 and students have the opportunity to read a diverse range of texts and genres throughout the school year.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality, worthy of careful reading, and consider a range of student interests.

Anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading.  They include works from award-winning authors, as well as traditional classics. They consider a range of student interests including but not limited to, how places shape us and risks people will take to be free.  The anchor texts provide the student with a variety of high-quality texts in multiple genres and on multiple topics. They include engaging illustrations and different vocabulary and structural techniques that are appropriately challenging for the grade level. 

  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, students read, “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs. The engaging and classic short story is written by a well-known author. The text includes rich language and is appropriate for the grade level.
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students read “Spirit Walking in the Tundra” by Joy Harjo. This poem is full of ideas about Nome, Alaska and the special connection the speaker has with the place. Many phrases and words may be unfamiliar to the reader and allow students to expand their vocabulary.
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, students read an excerpt from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglas.  This is a classic text about the value of learning to read and having freedom. Complex sentence structure and sophisticated vocabulary help make this text high quality. 
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students read an excerpt from It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.  Author, Danah Boyd, uses technical wording in this argument piece to discuss how social media impacts teens in today’s society. 

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 Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Texts include a mix of informational and literary texts integrated throughout every unit. The variety of genres and text types include, but are not limited to the following:  science fiction, poetry, editorials, memoirs, dramas, informational articles, and folktales. For each of the six units, there are also suggested independent reading books that can be used to enhance or extend the provided reading selections.

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

  • Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches- “Interflora”- lyric poem by Susan Hamlyn
  • Unit 2, Thrill of Horror- “The Tell-Tale Heart”- short story by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Unit 4, Fight for Freedom- “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh”- short story by Ray Bradbury
  • Unit 6, Legacy of Anne Frank- “Days”- poem by Billy Collins

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

  • Unit 2, Thrill of Horror- “What is the Horror Genre?”- informational article by Sharon A. Russell
  • Unit 3, Places We Call Home- “New Immigrants Share Their Stories”- documentary film by Lis Gossels
  • Unit 5, Finding Your Path- “The Debt We Owe to the Adolescent Brain”- informational article by Jeanne Miller
  • Unit 6, Legacy of Anne Frank- “After Auschwitz”- speech b: Elie Wiesel

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

Most anchor texts are placed at the appropriate grade level in the Current Lexile Band (860L-1010L) or the Stretch Lexile Band (925L-1185L) for grades 6-8. Texts below the stretch band increase in complexity due to qualitative features and associated tasks. Texts that are above the stretch band quantitatively have supports in place and associated tasks which enable students to access the text and demonstrate understanding. 

Examples of texts that have the appropriate level of complexity for Grade 8 include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students read the text, “Heads Up, Humans.” The Lexile level for this text is 1300L, which is above the Stretch Lexile Band for grades 6-8.  Students read and compare two arguments relating to the same essential question: “Does technology improve or control our lives?” The first argument is “The Automation Paradox” which is within the grade level band and accessible to students. Text-dependent questions in “Heads Up, Humans” will assist students to analyze and evaluate the text during reading and then they will have an opportunity to collaborate with a group to complete a final project relating to the texts.
  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, students read the short story, “The Monkey’s Paw.” It has a Lexile level of 920L, which is included in the Current Lexile Band for grades 6-8. The classic short story is only slightly below the stretch band quantitatively for the grade level. The qualitative features increase the level of complexity by including multiple levels of symbolism, irony, and allusion. Students must make inferences and decipher some unconventional language.
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students read an excerpt from Bronx Masquerade. The Lexile level is 710L, which is below the Current Lexile Band for grades 6-8. The quantitative measure is below the appropriate band but the qualitative features promote appropriate complexity for grade 8. This is a complex thematic text with a non-linear structure that students have not studied previously. Multiple levels of implied meaning that utilize figurative and cultural language to discuss the idea of a teen’s concept of identity are present. Strong inferencing skills are required to comprehend this text. 

Indicator 1d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ literacy skills (understanding and comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).

Assessments provide teachers a good “picture” of reading ability increasing over the course of the school year.  The materials are designed with texts that increase in rigor and complexity, in turn increasing students’ literacy skills as they advance month-to-month and year-to-year. Careful attention is paid to the collection of anchor texts and the design of instruction with those texts and text sets. Students practice a variety of literacy skills including but not limited to: analyzing setting and character, analyzing how a character develops plot, analyzing structure, determining key ideas and details, identifying and analyzing point of view, making inferences, making predictions, citing evidence, analyzing structure, analyzing language, and publishing.

  • In the beginning of the year, the students are asked to identify structure in a poem titled “Interflora.” Students are instructed on the poetry form of a sonnet. “...a sonnet, a 14-line poem with a strictly defined structure and pattern of rhyme” (29). Then after reading the sonnet students are asked in the Notice & Note section to “Use the symbols" and “to mark the meter of the sonnet. Use the letters of the alphabet to identify and mark the rhyme scheme” (32).
  • In the middle of the year, students are asked to “review the elements of an elegy and discuss how the poet uses words and phrases to stimulate the emotions of sorrow and joy, as well as strong feelings,” after reading “O Captain! My Captain” (294). Then students have a writing task where they write “...a poem in which you pay tribute to someone you respect or admire…” “Decide if you want your poem to be an elegy, a limerick, a sonnet, or some other form” (295).
  • By the end of the year, students are able to compare and contrast two poems analyzing how the structure impacts the message conveyed by the authors. “Both ‘Hanging Fire’ and ‘Summer of his Fourteenth Year’ are free verse poems about the problems and changes teenagers are going through. Although the poems are about the same topic, they differ in a number of ways. Ask yourself the following questions to compare the poems. What effect does the form of the poem, or the arrangement of the lines on the page, create for the reader?” (362).

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level. 

Grade 8 instructional materials include a text complexity analysis for anchor texts and series of texts connected to them. There is an accurate rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. The materials offer a range of texts appropriate for the grade level and qualitative features increase the level of thinking required of students with texts that fall below the stretch band quantitatively for students. The text complexity information is available consistently in the Teacher's Edition in the Plan and Text X-ray sections.

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students read a science fiction short story “The Brave Little Toaster” by Cory Doctorow. Quantitatively the text complexity places at 990L within the stretch band appropriate for Grade 8. Qualitative measures indicate that students will be required to make inferences and there is some unconventional language that increases the complexity of the short story. The structure and knowledge required is accessible to students at this level.
  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, students compare versions of the short story “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs and a film clip from the movie adaption of The Monkey’s Paw by Ricky Lewis Jr. The short story is placed at 920L quantitatively with is slightly below the stretch band for Grade 8. Qualitative measures indicate that text complexity increases due to “Multiple levels of symbolism, irony, and allusion. Greater demand for inference.” There is no Lexile available for the film clip used for comparison. The qualitative measures indicate that the film is accessible for students at this level.
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students read an excerpt from the novel The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez with a quantitative measure of 870L.  Qualitative analysis reveals that ideas presented are mostly direct and explicit, with some implied meaning that requires making inferences. Structure is primarily chronological and conventional, with a single first-person narrator. The text includes many complex sentences, with support for the Spanish words used. Some historical references may rely on outside knowledges. 
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, students read an autobiography from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass with a quantitative Lexile measure of 1010L. Qualitative analysis indicates there is more than one purpose for the ideas presented and implied meanings that can be easily identified from context. The autobiography used more than one text structure, some unfamiliar language, some complex sentence structure, and some references to difficult historical concepts. 
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students read a mentor text, an argument excerpt from It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd. Students draw on this piece for examples of opinion writing with support as they write their final argumentative paper. The selection includes technical vocabulary which requires use of context clues and deduction reflective of the 1080L measurement.
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, students read two poems at the end of the unit. “There But for the Grace” by Wisława Szymborska and “Days” by Billy Collins are read to compare themes in poetry. Then, they apply the themes to 0................The Diary of Anne Frank. Both poems have complexity around complex ideas, implied meaning, and figurative language.

Indicator 1f

Anchor text(s), including support materials, provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading.
2/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

The instructional materials for Grade 8 meet the expectations for anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of texts to achieve grade level reading. Students have the opportunity to read a diverse range of texts and genres throughout the school year.


  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students analyze three texts using the Notice & Note reading model. The first science fiction text is “The Brave Little Toaster” by Cory Doctorow, the second is an informational text “Are Bionic Superhumans on the Horizon?” by Ramez Naam, and the third is a poem “Interflora” by Susan Hamlyn. There are selection tests available following each reading and a Reading Studio is available online for additional support and instruction. Students then collaborate and compare two arguments “The Automation Paradox” by James Bessen and “Heads Up, Humans” by Claudia Alarcón. The texts connect to a topic linking the selections to the essential question: “Does technology improve or control our lives?” Independent reading selections are available for students as a Reader’s Choice. Selections for independent reading options in Unit 1 range in complexity from 790L-920L and are accessible to students. These include poetry, science fiction, and a novel excerpt. The suggested pacing is 30 days to complete Unit 1 (1A-1D).
  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, students analyze three texts using the Notice & Note reading model. The first is a literary criticism “What is the Horror Genre?” by Sharon A. Russell, the second is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe entitled “Tell-Tale Heart,” and the third is a poem entitled “The Hollow” by Kelly Deschler. There are selection tests available following each reading and a Reading Studio is available online for additional support and instruction. Students then collaborate and compare a short story “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs and a film clip from The Monkey’s Paw by Ricky Lewis Jr. The texts connect to a topic linking the selections and to the essential question: “Why do we sometimes like to feel frightened?” Independent reading selections are available for students as a Reader’s Choice. Selections for independent reading options in Unit 2 range in complexity from 660L-1270L and are accessible to students. These include poems, short stories, and an argument essay. The suggested pacing for Unit 2 is 30 days (74A-74D).
  • Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students read a short story, an excerpt from a novel, a poem, and an informational text, and view a documentary. The Teacher’s Edition provides instructions for teachers to determine whether students read as a whole group, independently, or in various small group configurations that vary by text. Regardless of grouping, students utilize various cloze read strategies as they Notice & Note throughout the texts and Analyze and Apply strategies learned. A novel excerpt serves as a mentor text as students write a short story at the end of the unit. Students read a text set comprised of an informational text and a documentary in order to collaborate with a small group and compare the purposes of each text. Independent research at various points throughout the unit expose students to a multitude of informational texts. Independent reading selections are included at a variety of proficiency levels. The titles are: “My Father and the Figtree” by Naomi Shihab, “Golden Glass” by Alma Luiz Villanueva, an excerpt from The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang, “A Place to Call Home” by Scott Bittle and Jonathan Rochkind, and “Salmon Boy” by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac. The suggested novel pairing is Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman. The suggested pacing for this unit is 30 days (T25, 150A-150D).
  • Unit 4, The Fight For Freedom, students read an excerpt from an autobiography, an excerpt from a biography, a historical fiction piece, two poems, and an excerpt from a history article. Opportunities and directions are provided in the Teacher’s Edition for whole group reading, independent reading, and small group readings in various configurations, and all choices include cloze reading strategies for teachers to implement and monitor. The excerpt from a history article serves as a mentor text for students as they closely analyze structure and purpose when they create a research report at the end of the unit. Students Collaborate & Compare with others as they analyze main ideas, figurative language, and imagery in a text set that includes a poem and the previously mentioned mentor text. Independent research is required at various points throughout the unit, engaging students in the independent reading of various informational sources. Independent reading selections for students at varying proficiency levels are included such as: “I Saw Old General at Bay” by Walt Whitman, “A Mystery of Heroism” by Stephen Crane, an excerpt from “Blood Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis” by James L. Swanson, “My Friend Douglass” by Russell Freedman, and “Civil War Journal” by Lousia May Alcott. The suggested novel pairing for the unit is The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers. The suggested pacing for the unit is 30 days (T27, 238A-238D).
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students read varied genres related to the essential question, “How do your teenage years prepare you for adulthood?” This unit encompasses six texts and five independent texts. The students analyze two texts at the beginning of the Unit. The first text is “The Debt We Owe to the Adolescent Brain” an informational text by Jeanne Miller. Then, students read an excerpt from the novel The Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes. Students keep a Response Log throughout the unit where they collect evidence as they read. There are additional supports for students who need extra support. In the Collaborate and Compare section of the unit, the students read and compare two poems and two arguments. The poems are “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde, and “Summer of his Fourteenth Year” by Gloria Amescua. The two arguments are “Outsmart Your Phone” by Catherine Steiner-Adair and an excerpt from It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd . Students with the digital feature have access to five independent texts: “Teenagers” by Pat Mora (Poem), “Identity” by Julio Noboa Polanco (Poem), “Hard on the Gas” by Janet S. Wong (Poem), “Marigolds” by Eugenia Collier (Short Story) and “ My Summer of Scooping Ice Cream) by Shonda Rhimes (Essay). The suggested pacing for this unit is 30 days (322A-322D).
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, students read varied genres related to the essential question: “What can we learn from Anne Frank?” This 30-day unit encompasses five texts and five independent texts. The students analyze three texts at the beginning of the Unit. The first text is a drama of The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. Then, they read excerpts from The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank. Next, they read a speech by Elie Wiesel titled “After Auschwitz.”  Students keep a Response Log throughout the unit where they collect evidence as they read. In the Collaborate and Compare section of the unit, the students read and compare two poems: “There but for the Grace” by Wislawa Szymborska and “Days” by Billy Collins. Students with the digital feature have access to six independent texts: “Peace Can Happen” by Christine Kingery (Essay), “The Butterfly” by Pavel Friedman (Poem), “On a Sunny Evening” by Anonymous (Poem), “The Singing Woman” by Rebecca Makkai (Short Story), “A Tragedy revealed: A Heroine’s Last Days” by Ernst Schnabel (Article), and “Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech” by Elie Wiesel (Essay). The suggested pacing for this unit is 30 days (404A-404D). 

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criterion for materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly, while sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills. The materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax, while also supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports. The materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate. The materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards and include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level. The materials also include explicit instruction of the grade-level grammar and conventions standards as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria 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). 

The instructional materials for Grade 8 include questions, tasks, and assignments that are text-dependent over the course of the school year. Notice & Note Signposts are activities that guide students and assist them to analyze works of fiction or nonfiction. Notice & Note Signposts activities include Contrasts and Contradictions activities. Also culminating projects, both oral and written, require students to draw from readings and notations to support their final assessments with evidence.  Text-dependent questions, tasks, and assignments support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. Students practice the following skills, including but not limited to: summarize, critique, interpret, and connect to their reading. Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation of text-dependent writing, speaking, and listening standards. In the Teacher’s Edition, there are additional suggestions to prompt writing and discussion around the text with possible answers provided.

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, after the students read “Head’s Up, Humans” by Claudia Alarcon, students respond to the essential question, “Does technology improve or control our lives?”  Students are instructed to review their annotations and notes, and locate “evidence that supports the writer’s claim.” 
  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, at the end of the unit in a culminating writing task, the students write a literary analysis to answer this prompt: “As Sharon A. Russell points out in 'What Is the Horror Genre?,' various elements may be used to define and categorize horror stories, including suspense, plot, setting, theme, and the source of threats to the characters. Why do we sometimes feel frightened?” In the instructions students are told to “develop support for your controlling idea by including examples and quotations from the story.” 
  • In Unit 3, Place We Call Home, students analyze character during the reading of “My Favorite Chaperone.” Students answer questions to analyze character, requiring support with evidence from the text: “Mark the reasons Maya gives in paragraph 8 for loving the gymnastics team. What does her description of swinging on the uneven bars reveal about her?”.
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, students analyze an excerpt from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave and support their responses with evidence: “Reread paragraph 6. What words reveal Douglass’ perspective on, or view of, slaveholders?”. 
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, teachers introduce students to Notice & Note Signposts during their reading of the text “The Debt We Owe to the Adolescent Brain.” Students learn the signposts Contrasts and Contradictions, Big Questions, and Numbers and Stats: “What prior knowledge or experience does the author’s rhetorical question assume?”.
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, students work in the Collaborate and Compare section to tie together numerous readings from the unit. Students read the play The Diary of Anne Frank, excerpts from The Diary of a Young Girl, a speech given by Elie Wiesel titled “After Auschwitz,” and two poems, “There But For The Grace” and “Days.” Students work with a group to answer how the poems connect to the prior readings. They must pull themes from the readings and then use their evidence to determine, as a group, which poem is the best fit for the unit. Students finally “Write an analysis that explains which poem best captures the spirit of the unit and why. Cite text evidence to support your ideas” and then share with a partner, using their feedback to revise the analysis.

Indicator 1h

Sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

Materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task. Each unit has several tasks which include text-dependent questions and activities (speaking and writing) such as, but not limited to, the following:  Check Your Understanding, Analyze the Text, Collaborate and Compare, and Notice & Note. The culminating tasks are designed to help students synthesize and apply their learning from the unit in an engaging and authentic way through writing and speaking. 

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students Analyze the Text and answer text dependent/specific questions such as, “Find the statement that Mister Toussaint repeats in paragraphs 8 and 14. What is he responding to each time? What theme about people and technology does the repetition suggest?” This builds toward a culminating task in which students write an informational essay explaining how a new technology helped them. They explain its use to a person unfamiliar with it. Then, they adapt it into an instructional speech. 
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students read a poem titled “Spirit Walking in the Tundra.” While reading, students use Notice & Note to comment on elements such as imagery in specific lines of the poem through prompts embedded in the student workbook. After reading, students immediately answer multiple choice Check Your Understanding questions that point them back to specific textual details . Then they answer more challenging text-dependent questions in the Analyze the Text section that point back to key features of the text. The culminating task has students write a poem about a time they took a walk with a friend using imagery. The task refers students back to the key ideas presented and questioned about while reading their text.
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, students consider Memory Moments, as one example of a Notice & Note signpost. Students think about why a memory might be important and what it can reveal about the theme, conflict, or how it might foreshadow what will happen. While reading Act Two of The Diary of Anne Frank students Notice & Note with annotations: “Mark the memories that Anne has as she looks at the photos that Miep brought her.” Then, students interpret: “How does Anne feel that she’s changed since the days when she played ping-pong with her friends?” At the end of Unit 6, students write, peer review, and publish a personal narrative as the culminating task. During the planning session the Student Edition reminds them: “Think about how you can incorporate a Memory Moment into your narrative.”

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

The materials offer numerous opportunities for students to have evidence-based discussions across many texts in each unit. The groupings during the evidence-based discussions vary greatly, offering students the opportunity to engage in whole group discussions, peer-to-peer discussions, and various configurations of small group discussions. Evidence-based discussions are supported by explicit grouping directions and supports for struggling students within the Teacher’s Edition. Specifically in the Plan section of each text in the unit there are specific protocols, sentence frames, and differentiated supports for different types of groupings.The Teacher's Edition also includes supports embedded throughout the student’s text encouraging the incorporation of academic vocabulary. Word Networks provide a means to introduce and discuss academic vocabulary with a partner to begin each unit. Speaking and Listening Studio is included following the reading of each text to prepare the students for collaborative discussions explaining and modeling roles of the members of the group. Then students participate in collaborative discussions and analyze and evaluate presentations.  

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, after reading two articles on the subject, students engage in a debate on the impact of automation on employment. They work in a small group setting to choose a side, collect evidence for their viewpoint, and then conduct an actual debate with another team. Directions instruct students to “use appropriate eye contact, speaking rate, volume, enunciation, and gestures to communicate ideas effectively.” 
  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, students complete and discuss a Word Network with a partner about the academic word convention. Support is in place for modeling and the materials ask teachers to “...encourage them to include all the categories shown in the completed network, if possible, but point out that some words do not have clear synonyms or antonyms. Some words may also function as different parts of speech–for example, predict can become the noun prediction with an added suffix.The materials include four other academic vocabulary words: predict, psychology, summary, and technique. After completing and discussing a Word Network for each academic vocabulary word, students will learn and practice the academic vocabulary throughout the remainder of the unit.
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, the Teacher's Edition offers instructions for multiple groupings as teachers prepare for students to read from The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez and discuss with their peers. Grouping instructions are given for either Numbered Heads Together or Solving a Problem techniques. Both options are two ways of utilizing small groups to discuss the story with evidence. 
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, students respond to the essential question “What will people risk to be free?” following the reading of an excerpt from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Students discuss what they have learned from the text using their previous annotations and relevant details from the text. A reminder to students includes, “As you write and discuss what you learned from the autobiography, be sure to use the Academic Vocabulary words. Check off each of the words that you use.” 
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students Think-Pair-Share as they work in small groups. Students reread paragraphs 1-7. Then they respond to the question: “Why does the author begin her argument this way?” First, student pairs think about the question individually, find evidence to support their response, and take notes. Then, pairs discuss their responses. 
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, after reading and annotating a longer work, the drama The Diary of Anne Frank, students make a poster and dramatize a relationship. Teacher guidance is in place to assist students during the creation process, including “...writing support for students at varying proficiency levels, see the Test X-Ray on page 406D.” Once the poster is created, students present to the class. “Then, students “Act out (or do a dramatic reading of) two sections of the drama to demonstrate how the relationship between two characters changes over time.”

Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports. 

Students are engaged in speaking and listening tasks throughout each unit. Specifically, the Collaborate & Compare section of every unit has extensive opportunities for students to discuss with peers around the topic of the unit. These tasks are often accompanied by a checklist that guides and provides feedback to students on the speaking and listening standards. Additionally, at the conclusion of each unit, a culminating writing assignment (Writing Task) is accompanied by speaking and listening opportunities (Speaking and Listening Task). Supplemental speaking and listening resources are provided for teachers and students. In the teacher guide, teachers are provided with prompts and guidance for supporting students’ discussion. For students, the online resource (ED) provides interactive videos on speaking and listening skills.   

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, in the Collaborate & Compare section, after reading “The Automation Paradox” by James Beesen and “Heads Up, Humans” by Claudia Alarcon, students engage in a debate on the impact of automation on employment. They work in a small group setting to choose a side, collect evidence for their viewpoint, and then conduct an actual debate with another team. Directions instruct students to “use appropriate eye contact, speaking rate, volume, enunciation, and gestures to communicate ideas effectively.”
  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, after reading “What is the Horror Genre?” by Sharon Russell, students research plot descriptions and synopses of well-known horror stories. Students complete a chart of famous Masters of Horror and two works for each. Then, with a small group, students share what they found. As a small group, students decide if they want to show images or a movie trailer. Then students refer back to the categories Russell details in her essay, and identify what makes each of the works a good example of the horror genre. 
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students research “high schools that specifically serve recent immigrants” and chart their answers on a graphic organizer. Then, students share their findings with a small group, comparing and contrasting answers that vary between students. The Teacher's Edition encourages teachers to remind students that they should discuss the similarities and differences in regards to the viewpoints presented in the documentary and text that they have viewed for the unit. 
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, students participate in a collaborative discussion with group members as part of the culminating task. The materials provide additional guidance to teachers: “Introduce students to the Speaking and Listening Task by reading the introductory paragraph with them. Remind students that participants in an effective panel discussion use text evidence to support their ideas and to respond to the ideas of others.” In addition, English Learner Support is available to teachers when working with students from varying proficiency levels, including Moderate/Light Support: “Ask pairs to say aloud or write summaries of the texts they review, using the following sentence frames to share information: [Text title] is about _____. In this text, abolitionists respond to slavery by _____. I think we [should, should not] discuss this text because _____. Groups can use ideas from these conversations together information.”

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate. 

The materials for Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing. There are multiple opportunities throughout each unit for students to write about texts on-demand in shorter responses. At the end of each unit, there is a process writing piece called the Writing Task. There are multiple times where students spend time researching their ideas and tying them back to written text. Opportunities for students to revise and/or edit are provided. Materials include digital resources where appropriate. Writing tasks and projects are aligned to the grade level standards being reviewed.

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students use ideas from “Heads Up, Humans” to create a public service announcement to build awareness about the potential impact of automation on jobs in the future. In this on-demand writing task, students decide on a slogan or a call to action to focus on in the message. They identify facts from the text or from additional research to support their message. Students choose a format for their message, such as a poster or video.
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students view a documentary titled New Immigrants Share Their Stories. While watching, students write down any questions they have about the film and are instructed to pay attention to visual and sound techniques such as animation and voice-over. Later, students complete a graphic organizer that asks them to tie each technique back to a scene from the film and discuss what that scene and technique helps emphasize. 
  • In Unit 4, The Terror and Wonder of Space, following the reading of an excerpt from Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad, students write a persuasive speech “to convince the board of a museum that Harriet Tubman should be included in a ‘Heroes Hall of Fame’ exhibit.” The materials include additional online resources in the Writing Studio with guidance for a strong written argument, including but not limited to the following suggestions: shows an understanding of the issue, includes a precise claim that states the writer’s position, provides logical reasons to support the writer’s claim, and supports reasons with sufficient and relevant evidence.
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students write a poem about identity or the search for identity that they will recite aloud for the class. In this on-demand writing task, students review the poems in the excerpt from Bronx Masquerade for inspiration and decide on a message they want to convey in their own poem.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. 

Grade 8 materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Students write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. In addition, students write informative/explanatory and narrative responses. These opportunities are often connected to text types and/or topics students have explored throughout the unit. Teachers and students can monitor their writing skills through writing tasks following the readings and the use of rubrics and checklists. 

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students write an informational essay as an end of unit task to “tell someone unfamiliar with a new technology how it helped you and how to use it.” A scoring guide is available for students to evaluate their work and to “write a paragraph explaining the reasons for the score he or she awarded in each category.”
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, students write a persuasive speech to convince the board of a museum that Harriet Tubman should be included in a “Heroes Hall of Fame” exhibit. This meets the demand of Grade 8 writing standards W.8.1a-c and W.8.1e. 
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students write an argument as an end of unit task following the reading of a selection from It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. Students “write an argument on a topic related to teenagers.” (394) The task requires students “support the claim with valid reasons and evidence, including facts, details, and examples from credible sources.”
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, students write a personal narrative about an experience involving an object that they value. This meets the demand of Grade 8 writing standards W.8.3a-e.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

Grade 8 materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources. Annotations and shorter writing tasks take place consistently throughout the unit. At the end of every text, there is a section called Analyze the Text that proposes five short response questions and all require text support. The students use notes, answers, and annotation to add to an on-going Response Log. Students keep this Response Log throughout each unit to gather text evidence to support the culminating writing task . A culminating writing task (Writing Task) follows each unit, connecting to the essential question and topic. Materials provide opportunities that build students' writing skills over the course of the school year. Also, online resources are available which include interactive peer and teacher feedback with writing lessons and Level Up tutorials are available to focus on specific writing skills.

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students read closely the informational text “Are Bionic Superhumans on the Horizon?” by Ramez Naam and then respond to the essential question: “Does technology improve or control our lives?” Students gather information using the annotations and notes created during their reading. The Writing Task involves completing a response log to think about: the kinds of bionic advances people want or need, ways in which advances in bionics may affect individuals and society, and the ethical questions bionic devices may raise.
  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, students read “The Hollow,” a poem by Kelly Deschler. Students work with a partner to research illustrations of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. Partners determine which illustrations would best fit the poem “The Hollow” and must support their ideas with details from the poem.
  • In Unit 4, The Fight For Freedom, students read the poem “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman. While reading, students analyze figurative language by completing a table identifying comparisons such as metaphor and extended metaphor and what the poet’s purpose behind utilizing the figurative language might be. Students must include evidence from the text to support their answers.
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, students read The Diary of Anne Frank: Act Two by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. After reading the second act of the drama, students “support their responses with evidence from the text.” Students Analyze the Text by writing in their notebook and respond to the following:  "Evaluate: How do the playwrights use a flashback to tell the story of life in the Annex? Does the use of nonlinear plot add to or detract from the impact of this play? Note how the play would be different if it had a linear plot as you explain your opinion.  Notice & Note: How do Anne’s wise words in paragraph 437 relate to what her father told her in Act One, Scene 2? Why might the playwrights have had Anne speak these words to Peter in Act Two?"

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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. 

Grade 8 materials include explicit instruction of grammar and conventions standards for the grade level, including all skills connecting to the anchor standards to ensure college and career readiness. In the materials, Notice & Note direct students to the Language/Grammar within the text. Explicit instruction is provided in the Teacher’s Edition. Students improve their fluency with these language standards through practice and application in and out of context. Within all tasks, including culminating tasks, directions and rubrics for grammar and conventions are considered.  In the Teacher's Edition, there are lesson ideas for students who are struggling, as well as reminders for use of the Grammar Studio for interactive lessons on the language standards.  

  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, after reading "The Monkey’s Paw,” students learn about verb tenses. Explicit instruction is included in the Teacher’s Notes. Students practice by identifying verbs with correct tense in a teacher-issued paragraph from the text. Then students write a one-paragraph review of “The Monkey’s Paw.”  They “tell how the story begins, whether you recommend it, and how you think others will react to it. Then edit your paragraph for appropriate use of verb tenses.” 
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, after reading Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad, students learn about run-on sentences and how to correctly construct and punctuate compound, complex and compound-complex sentences. Explicit instruction is included in the Teacher’s Notes. Students practice by writing three sentences about a journey. They make one complex sentence, one compound sentence, and one compound-complex. They show they can correctly use commas and conjunctions to avoid creating run-on sentences. 
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students end the unit by writing an argument piece. In the editing section of the writing process, students are instructed to review for grammar, usage, and mechanics, paying special attention to the skills learned throughout this unit: namely comparative and superlative modifiers. Students can refer to the Using Modifiers Correctly lesson in the Grammar Studio if they need assistance. 
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, students focus on Vocabulary Acquisition and Use with a Practice and Apply activity relating to the reading of an excerpt from The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: “Tell how the meaning of each sentence would change if the underlined word were replaced by the word in parentheses. 2. The view from a certain window in the annex was splendid. (fine)”. 

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectations for materials build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. The materials build students’ knowledge across topics and content areas; however, academic vocabulary instruction is not intentionally and coherently sequenced to consistently build students’ vocabulary. Questions and tasks build in rigor and complexity to culminating tasks that demonstrate students’ ability to analyze components of text and topics. Reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills are taught and practiced in an integrated manner.

Criterion 2a - 2h

30/32

Indicator 2a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently. 

Grade 8 materials include texts connected by a topic and essential question for each unit that are appropriate for the grade level. The essential question is introduced at the beginning of the lesson, referred to after each lesson, and appears at the end in each unit task.  Students are given the opportunity to build their reading comprehension skills by completing the following tasks within the unit: Check Your Understanding, Analyze the Text, Research Tasks, Create and Discuss, Respond to the Essential Question, Critical Vocabulary, and Language Conventions. The sequence of texts across the grade level is conducive toward scaffolding students to meet the requirements of Standard 10: Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently. The materials include many opportunities for both close reading and independent reading with student choices available with each unit. The topics include the following: Gadgets and Glitches, The Thrill of Horror, Places We Call Home, The Fight for Freedom, Finding Your Path, and The Legacy of Anne Frank.

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students consider how technology impacts our lives. The essential question is, “Does technology improve or control our lives?” Students explore how technology affects our lives. Throughout the unit, students read fiction and nonfiction texts that relate to this goal, such as information about how technology is being used to replace parts of the human body, poems about the limitations of technology, and arguments about the impact of automation. The Unit 1 tasks are an informational essay and presentation of an instructional speech. Both refer back to the essential question and students use the notes in their response log to complete these tasks.
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students read several texts relating to the essential question “What are the places that shape who you are?” These include an opportunity to analyze and apply skills with “My Favorite Chaperone” by Jean Davies Okimoto, an excerpt from The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez, and “Spirit Walk in the Tundra” by Joy Harjo. Students then have an opportunity to Collaborate & Compare two texts relating to the same topic: a documentary “New Immigrants Share Their Stories” by Lis Gossels, and an informational text “A Common Bond” by Brooke Hauser. The levels of the texts increase in complexity and will move students toward comprehending grade level text proficiently and independently. The culminating task is to use information gathered in the unit to write a short story based on a character who is struggling with an obstacle in relation to a place. 
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, all texts align to the essential question of the unit: “What will people risk to be free?” Students collect thoughts and evidence in a response log throughout the reading of each text in the unit. Students read an excerpt from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, which is a primary source from someone who was a slave. Then students read “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh,” a historical fiction piece that follows a young boy as he finds courage to meet the next day directly.  Then students read “O Captain! My Captain!” a poem that uses implied meanings to convey the courage of Abraham Lincoln. Students use information gathered from these readings to complete the culminating tasks of writing a research report about an aspect of the abolition movement and participating in collaborative discussion on the Fight for Freedom.

Indicator 2b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.

In Grade 8 materials, students are expected to cite textual evidence to support analysis, determine theme, and analyze point of view. For most texts, students are asked to analyze language or author’s word choice. Most texts include opportunities for students to analyze key ideas and details, structure, and craft. The materials provide instructional supports to ensure students can analyze the text according to the grade level standards, and students apply skills after the reading that correspond to skills they practice during the reading. Examples of student answers and mentor texts are available. This scaffolded progression occurs across units, sections, lessons, and assessments. The questions and tasks help students to build comprehension and knowledge of topics and themes. 

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students cite textual evidence to support analysis of a text during the reading of “Interflora”: “Which words and phrases in the poem reveal it is a love sonnet?” Students practice the skill again in Unit 1 with “The Automation Paradox” before they apply the skill during a comparison of two texts later in the unit. 
  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, students analyze key ideas and details, structure, and craft while reading “What is the Horror Genre?”. Students are directed to mark the first sentence of each paragraph in this selection. Then they analyze: "Based on these topic sentences, what is the author’s controlling idea, or thesis, about the horror genre? What evidence does she provide?" The questions and tasks help students to build comprehension and knowledge of the topic.
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students analyze narrative structure when reading an excerpt from The Book of Unknown Americans: “Mark words and phrases in paragraph 4 that show the passage of time. How do the narrator’s parents’ attitudes about their homeland change as time passes?” Teacher guidance is available with a possible answer to ensure understanding. Two other questions throughout the reading provide opportunities to analyze the narrative structure. 
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students are asked to analyze language and author’s word choice in “The Debt We Owe to the Adolescent Brain.”  Students underline all of the pronouns in paragraph 2 and circle the two antecedents. Then they consider: "Could the author have used the pronoun our instead of their in the last sentence? Explain." This will show the teacher if students understand language conventions related to the function of pronouns. 

Indicator 2c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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 for Grade 8 include questions and tasks to support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas. During the Analyze & Apply section, students read a variety of selections for analysis, annotation, and application of the Notice & Note protocol. Sequences of text-dependent questions support students in their analysis of the texts. The materials provide guidance to teachers in supporting students’ skills in the Teacher's Edition. Sets of questions and tasks provide opportunities to analyze across multiple texts as well as within single texts. For example, each unit includes a Collaborate & Compare section which provides a comparative analysis of two selections linked by topic but different in genre, craft, or focus. 

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students read two arguments, “The Automation Paradox” by James Bessen, and “Heads Up, Humans” by Claudia Alarcón. Students complete a venn diagram analyzing the similarities and differences between the two arguments. Then, students answer further Analyze the Text questions with a small group such as “Which argument is most convincing to you? Cite evidence from both texts to support your opinion.” Finally, an in-class debate is conducted utilizing evidence from both texts. 
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students Collaborate & Compare a documentary, “New Immigrants Share Their Stories” by Lis Gossels, and an informational text, “A Common Bond” by Brooke Hauser. Teachers have access to possible answers to provide support to students as they discuss Analyze Media and Text questions with group members such as: “Infer: Based on the focus of the documentary, what possible motives did the filmmakers have in creating it?  Synthesize: What do both sources reveal about the challenges recent teen immigrants face and how best to overcome them?” 
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, students read “After Auschwitz,” a speech given by Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel. After reading the speech, in the Analyze the Text section, students are asked to “Review Wiesel’s emotional appeal in paragraphs 16-18. What values is he asking his audience to consider? What impact does his use of absolute language have on this appeal?” 

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

The Grade 8 materials include culminating tasks that are multifaceted, requiring students to demonstrate mastery of different grade level standards, including writing and presentation of knowledge and ideas. The materials meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks. Each text has clearly defined sets of Notice & Note, Check Your Understanding, and Analyze the Text questions that increase in rigor and depth and clearly support students in developing an ability to complete a culminating task. Culminating tasks vary for each text and are activities comprised of multiple types of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, students read a literary criticism piece titled “What is the Horror Genre?” by Sharon A. Russell. While reading, students answer Notice & Note questions that assist them in deriving the meaning behind the author’s words and purpose . After reading, students answer Check Your Understanding questions which assess basic comprehension of the topics covered in the reading.  Then students answer Analyze the Text questions requiring students to utilize evidence and reasoning skills to prove that they understand the more complex ideas presented by the text . Students research three “Masters of Horror,” and then utilize categories for horror outlined by the literary criticism piece and apply these categories to their research in order to identify whether the works are a good example of the horror genre or not.  Students share their findings with a small group.
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students complete a culminating task “Write a Short Story” focusing on “a character who is struggling with an obstacle in relation to a place.” Students complete the task following the reading of the mentor text, an excerpt from The Book of Unknown Americans. The Response Log students complete throughout the unit will assist them to be successful writing around the same topic. Student choice is available, when students “develop their own theme and events, along with an original writer’s voice.”
  • In Unit 4, The Fight For Freedom, students read two texts, “Not My Bones” by Marilyn Nelson, and an excerpt from an informational text titled Fortune’s Bones by Pamela Espeland. Students identify the literary skill treatment and determine the similarities and differences in the treatment of each text with a small group. Teachers can assess understanding of the skill as students complete a graphic organizer recording their ideas. Students “continue exploring the ideas in these texts by discussing which treatment of Fortune’s life and death is more effective.” Then, they work with another small group to provide examples from the text to support their view. Finally, they share their views 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.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the expectations that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. The components of vocabulary practice are prevalent throughout the lessons. However, the materials do not include cohesive and year long approach with guidance for the teacher to ensure students are actually growing their vocabulary. Activities are consistent but attention to development and guidance for the teacher to give feedback is not. 

The instructional materials for Grade 8 include vocabulary instruction across the school year to increase students’ academic vocabulary. Vocabulary is repeated in contexts and across multiple texts included in both sections entitled, Academic Vocabulary and Critical Vocabulary, which helps in the understanding of a selection. Students are supported to accelerate vocabulary learning with vocabulary in their reading, speaking, and writing tasks. Opportunities for students include a section during the reading of each text in which they are Applying Academic Vocabulary by writing and through discussion. Also, students use and mark the Academic Vocabulary words in their Response Log to the essential question. In addition, a Vocabulary Studio is available online for students to expand their vocabulary with interactive lessons to grow their vocabulary.

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, “The Automation Paradox” by James Bessen, teachers have a clear plan to engage students in building key academic vocabulary. In the Critical Vocabulary, Applying Academic Vocabulary, and Vocabulary Strategy sections, teachers are given steps to explicitly teach, and guide students as they practice and apply their understanding of vocabulary. In the strategy section, teacher supports provide for all levels of students. Materials provide teacher guidance for supporting students’ academic vocabulary, but lack a year long structure. 
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, students read “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” by Ray Bradbury. After reading, students write a research report on the Battle of Shiloh and create a dramatized scene from the text. While accomplishing this, students are reminded via a checklist in the margin to “be sure to use the Academic Vocabulary words” as they write and discuss. Students check off words as they use them, but the teacher will have to attend to their use and address which words may be embedded into further lessons. 
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, students read “After Auschwitz,” a speech written by Elie Wiesel. While reading, students apply previously learned academic vocabulary as they write and discuss with a partner to answer “What message is Elie Wiesel trying to communicate?” and “What was an effect of the liberation of Auschwitz?” 

Indicator 2f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.

Writing is used across lessons and assessments as a learning tool and as a way for students to express their understanding. Lesson plans are scaffolded so that students develop their understanding of texts thoroughly before having to write thoughtfully about them. Within lessons, students complete smaller writing tasks such as taking notes, filling in charts and graphic organizers, and writing quick responses to essential questions, in addition to holding classroom discussions before they complete more demanding writing tasks for more complex selections at the end of each unit. Students learn the components of good writing through Text X-Ray and Language X-Ray tasks that focus on supports and writing structures. Each unit concludes in a process writing task that synthesizes the students’ understanding of the texts they read. In the Online Ed Resources, there are additional Writing Studio opportunities where students write informational texts, arguments, and narratives. Within the unit, students have multiple opportunities for on demand writing and complete one process piece. There is always a mentor text provided to use as a model and there is explicit author’s craft and genre characteristics the teacher has students examine. Writing instruction supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year, and rubrics and the Language X-Ray give teachers supports and scaffolds to guide students’ writing development. 

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students read “The Brave Little Toaster,” a science fiction piece by Cory Doctorow. While reading, students are instructed to record any instances of cause and effect from the text. After reading, students write a summary of the text, retelling the most important events in the story, focusing clearly on “describe the conflict Mister Toussaint faces and how he responds to it” and then on how the conflict is resolved, addressing Standard W.8.2, “Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information.”
  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, students read “What is the Horror Genre?” by Sharon A. Russell and write a letter “about a video game, movie, or show that was either too violent or rated too harshly.” Then students read “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe and write a scene from the point of view of a reliable narrator. Students also read “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W.Jacobs and write a personal response to each of the three sections. Finally, students write a literary analysis of one of the stories in this unit. Within the unit, students have multiple opportunities for on demand writing and complete one process piece. There is a mentor text, “What is the Horror Genre?” by Sharon A. Russell, provided to use as a model and there are explicit author’s craft and genre characteristics that the teacher has students examine. 
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students complete a chart, researching questions about Alaska Natives in order to help them better understand the culture conveyed in “Spirit Walking in the Tundra,” a poem by Joy Harjo. Students answer questions like “What is the climate like where Alaska Natives live? How has that influenced their lifestyle?” Students conduct this short research project by gathering information from multiple sources, directly aligning with Standard W.8.7 and Standard W.8.8. 
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students read an excerpt from It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd. Students are instructed to write an opinion piece in which they state their opinion on social media use at school. A Writing Studio is available online for additional instruction as to how to write an opinion piece. Teachers can assign these lessons to students and monitor students’ understanding. An example question includes a segment Identifying an Effective Claim. Students answer questions, such as the following: “Which of these claims is the strongest?”

Indicator 2g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

The instructional materials for Grade 8 include research projects across the school year that are appropriate for the grade level. Materials support teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge on a topic via provided resources. Notes are available in the margin of the Teacher's Edition with the label Research to assist educators in supporting students during the process. Materials provide many opportunities for students to apply reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language skills to synthesize and analyze per their grade level readings. There are notes available for teachers to assist students when they Create and Present in relation to the research tasks they complete. Materials provide opportunities for short and long research projects. Following the reading of each selection, the materials provide a short Research opportunity in the Respond section and includes a Research Tip for students. Longer writing tasks are available at the end of each unit. Students have the opportunity to complete a research report and the materials further develop this learning with a speaking and listening opportunity.

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students Respond to the reading of the poem “Interflora” by Susan Hamlyn. Students complete a short research task by exploring “the differences between technologies today and technologies form the time period in which this poem was written.” A Research Tip is also available for students: “Besides using the Internet, where can you look to find answers to these questions? Consider contacting someone who lives during the time period and ask whether you can conduct an interview about how technology has changed since then.”
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students read The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez. The book references real people, places, and events related to the history of Panama. Students conduct research to learn more about Panama’s history. They record their findings in a chart. There are research tips to help students assess the reliability of websites they may come across in their research. Research questions and a graphic organizer are provided. Students reread a quote from paragraph four of the text in which the narrator says of his parents’ decision to emigrate to the United States, “I pointed out how backwards it was to have fled to the nation that had driven them out of theirs, but they never copped to the irony of it.” In a small group, students discuss how their additional research about Panama’s history helps them understand this statement. This connects to the essential question of this unit, “What are the places that shape who you are?”
  • In Unit 4, The Fight For Freedom, students end the unit by completing a culminating task, a research report on one aspect of the abolition movement in the United States. Students have read texts throughout the unit such as an excerpt from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass and an excerpt from Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry, focused on the overall theme of slavery in the United States, collecting evidence from each text as they have read. Students move through the entire writing process, but begin their task by developing research questions and then using digital and print sources to find both primary and secondary sources. Students are reminded to evaluate and document their sources. 

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Lessons include some independent reading followed by text-specific questions and tasks that reflect student accountability. Procedures are organized for independent reading included in the lessons. Each Unit includes an Independent Reading plan with guidance for teachers and students. There is sufficient teacher guidance to foster independence for readers at all levels.  There is a tracking system (which may include a student component) to track independent reading. A timeline is provided for each of the six units; each unit lasts approximately 30 days. The Reader’s Choice in the Independent Reading section includes e-text selections and students check off the texts they select to read on their own. Assessments are available for the independent reading selections and teachers can assess students formatively by listening to partner discussions during the Collaborate and Share task to follow the independent reading.  Student reading materials span a wide volume of texts at grade levels (and at various lexile levels within the grade). Additionally, there are trade books suggested for every unit to foster an independent companion novel as students complete the unit. 

  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, students access interactive digital texts with a range of complexity levels during the Independent Reading section. Examples of student selections include the poem “Frankenstein” by Edward Field, the poem “beware: do not read this poem” by Ishmael Reed, a short story “Blood” by Zdravka Evitmova, a short story “The Outsider” by H.P. Lovecraft, and an essay “Scary Tales” by Jackie Torrence. Independent reading selection tests are available online for assessment. Guidance is available to teachers: “Collaborate and Share: To assess how well students read the selections, walk around the room and listen to their conversations. Encourage students to be focused and specific in their comments.” Teachers assess how well students are noticing and reflecting on elements of the texts.
  • In Unit 4, The Fight For Freedom, the materials offer a suggested novel connection The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers. Online resources are available for the teacher and students, including The Glory Field Study Guide and The Glory Field Book Test. Scaffolding and supports are in place during the reading, such as a Vocabulary Tracker. Students use a chart to record unfamiliar terms.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the expectations for instructional supports and usability indicators.  The materials are well designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards, as well as offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards. Teachers are provided with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards. The materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, and digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms. 

 

Criterion 3a - 3e

7/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criterion for materials are well designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding. Student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids. While the materials include a Common Core State Standards Correlation as a separate document to use as a reference that lists page numbers when specific standards are addressed, the standards are not provided specifically in a consistent manner within the Teacher's Edition or Student Edition to make these connections explicit and reinforce the skills they are learning. The visual design is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

Indicator 3a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. 

The Grade 8 curriculum is comprised of six units. The pacing guide at the beginning of each unit suggests that the instructional duration will be 30 lessons for each unit. Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Within each unit instruction is divided into Analyze & Apply, Collaborate & Compare, Independent Reading, and End of Unit tasks and assessments. Guidance for teachers in explaining Notice & Note Signposts are integrated into each unit.

  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, lessons are designed with pre-reading, while reading, and after reading scaffolds, instructions, and tasks that clearly guide and increase learning and rigor. 
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, the Teacher's Edition includes suggested pacing of 30 days and specifies the number of days to spend on the lessons for each text, including independent reading, within the unit. 
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, a unit Instructional Overview and Resources section is found at the beginning of each unit. The unit overview explains the Instructional Focus, Online Ed Resources, English Learner Support, and Differentiated Instruction.  The Online Ed Assessments of the unit lists reading, speaking and listening, writing, language conventions, and vocabulary components with an at-a-glance planning chart. For example, the Unit 4 Instructional Overview is found on pages 238A and 238B.
  • In Unit 6, in the Teach part of the Unit, there is guidance for the teacher in how to explain the Notice & Note Signposts that will be the focus of Unit 6: Words of the Wiser, Memory Moment, and Contrasts and Contradictions. Within the lessons for each text, there is guidance for the teacher to remind students to use the Notice & Note Signpost.

Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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.

The materials include a suggested pacing guide for each unit, including the number of days required to complete the reading and activities for the various texts. The pacing allows for maximum student understanding.The suggested amount of time and expectations for teachers and students of the materials are viable for one school year as written and would not require significant modifications.  There are six units in Grade 8 and suggested pacing is 30 days for each unit.

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, the Instructional Overview and Resources includes a Suggested Pacing of 30 Days with the Unit Introduction taking place on Day 1, five days to read and complete the activities relating to “The Brave Little Toaster,” six days is allotted for “Are Bionic Superhumans on the Horizon?”, three days for “Interflora,” nine days to complete the Collaborate & Compare section, two days for the independent reading selections, and three days to complete the culminating End of Unit tasks. 
  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, the Instructional Overview and Resources includes a Suggested Pacing of 30 days which includes five days to complete the text and tasks around “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and nine days to complete the Collaborate and Compare section where the student compare the text and film version, “The Monkey’s Paw”. 
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, the Instructional Overview and Resources includes a Suggested Pacing of 30 days. The Unit Introduction will take place on Day 1, the short story “My Favorite Chaperone” takes place over eight days, an excerpt from The Book of Unknown Americans over five days, two days is allotted for “Spirit Walk in the Tundra,” nine days to complete the Collaborate and Compare section, two days for the independent reading selections, and three days to complete the End of Unit tasks. 
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, the Instructional Overview and Resources includes a Suggested Pacing of 30 days. The Unit Introduction takes place in one day, which is consistent with other units. Students read “The Debt We Owe to the Adolescent Brain” over five days, five days is allotted for a novel excerpt from Bronx Masquerade, five days to complete a Collaborate & Compare section relating to two poems, nine days to complete an additional Collaborate & Compare section which includes the mentor text, two days for independent reading selections, and three days to complete the culminating End of Unit tasks.

Indicator 3c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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.)

Materials include but are not limited to graphic organizers, response logs, text dependent questions, Notice & Note Signposts, Check Your Understanding, Analyze the Text questions, unit assessments, supporting excerpts or texts, close read guides, Research Tips, essay rubrics, Language Conventions, model writings, Quick Start entrance and exit tickets, Critical Vocabulary word list and definitions in the margins of the text, and writing prompts. Student instructions are clear with models and examples to support students. There is ample practice for students to support mastery. Resources are clearly labeled.

  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students are provided numerous opportunities throughout each text to practice a variety of skills in the Notice & Note signposts as they annotate the text, Check Your Understanding Questions, and Analyze the Text questions.
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, students are assigned two Create and Dramatize tasks after reading “The Drummer Boy of Shilohby Ray Bradbury. Both activities have clear directions with optional digital support lessons as well as checklists that give direct instruction and reminders to students about what to include in their work and how to accomplish the task.
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students learn how to correctly write compound sentences. Explicit instructions are given and instruction on how to avoid writing run-on sentences is provided. Students Practice and Apply rewriting sentences to correct run-ons and comma splices.
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, each text is supported with a selection test that can be administered. If students show weakness on a specific standard, resources for that standard including digital lessons and practice are suggested. 

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

The materials include a Common Core State Standards Correlation as a separate document to use as a reference that lists page numbers when specific standards are addressed. The standards are not called out specifically in a consistent manner within the Teacher's Edition or Student Edition to make these connections explicit and reinforce the skills they are learning.

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students read “The Brave Little Toaster” and answer questions to analyze the plot which connect to the CCSS: “Notice what Mister Toussaint does with LOONY GOONY in paragraph 9. Mark details in paragraphs 6-8 that explain why he does this. Infer: What conflict is Mister Toussaint facing in this story?” There is a correlation to RL.8.3: Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision. The Student Edition and Teacher's Edition include in bold the heading "Analyze Stories: Plot" to call out the standard. The page numbers are referenced in the separate document “Common Core State Standards Correlation.” RL.8.3 is not listed next to the heading. 
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, the learning focus for reading “Spirit Walk the Tundra” is “analyze line length” and “analyze literary devices.” The Learning Objectives are: Analyze line length and literary devices such as imagery, allusion, and situational irony. The first lesson for the text is a mini-lesson on analyzing line length and literary devices; however, the specific skills are not labeled in any form on the assessment to reinforce the standards and call out those skills.
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students Write a Short Story. Within the task there are reminders to students, such as “use dialogue, pacing, descriptive details, and reflection to develop characters and events” which connects to standard W.8.3b: Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events. The standard is not listed in the margin for students and teachers to call out this connection in the form of labeling it as W.8.3b or in the form of a heading to incorporate the language of the standard. 
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students complete a “Finding Your Path Unit Test” which is available to print from the online resources or assign and complete online. There are connections to the CCSS, such as “Use your knowledge of context clues to choose the best answer to each question.” The first test question begins with “Read the following sentence. The rude way he treated his teacher was atrocious. Which synonym most closely matches the way the word atrocious is used in this sentence?" There are other questions that connect to skills they practice previously in the unit. The specific skills are not labeled in any form on the assessment to reinforce the standards and call out those skills.

Indicator 3e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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.

The material design is simple and consistent. All units are comprised of materials that display a simple design and include adequate space to capture thoughts as needed. The font, size, margins, and spacing are consistent and readable. All units include graphic organizers that are easy to read and understand. There are no distracting images, and the layout of the student consumables is clear and concise. Units and lessons are designed congruently in order to provide a repetitive workflow for both teachers and students. Embedded questions and tasks are not distracting but provide a clear way for students to understand when to engage with what feature. 

  • Background about the author is consistently provided above the text selection. 
  • Annotation Models using the Notice & Note Signposts are consistently provided throughout the materials.
  • Materials are consistently designed throughout lessons with clear repetition in organization for students to clearly understand what they should be engaging in with repetitive headings such as Check Your Understanding, Analyze the Text, Collaborate and Compare so that teachers and students can familiarize themselves with expectations for each segment. 
  • Photos, maps, keys, Notice & Note questions, and other embedded tasks are done on a consistent basis and are designed in a clean-cut manner so that students understand when to engage in them and are not distracted by them.

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criterion for materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards. The 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 the Teacher’s Edition provides background information and certain supports for teachers to present to students, there is no evidence of explanations of more challenging literacy ideas nor any cited resources where teachers can glean more understanding before supporting students. The Teacher’s Edition explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. The materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.  Although the materials include strategies for informing students about the ELA/literacy program, there is no evidence that the program is shared with other stakeholders, nor are there suggestions for parents and caregivers to support their student’s progress and/or achievement.

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.
2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria 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. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning..

The instructional materials include embedded and ongoing Professional Learning modules. The materials include Notice & Note strategies for close reading, classroom videos, and on-demand Professional Learning modules. A Professional Learning Guide and on demand access to program experts with conferencing and digital demonstrations support implementation. Teachers have the flexibility to customize and teach by theme, instructional purpose, standard, and genre.There are also interactive supports called Studios that can support teachers and/or students in specific standards and skills. Throughout the online and print materials, teachers are guided to more support through margin notes that are easily accessed. 

  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, Notice & Note Reading Model strategies are available prior to reading “The Debt We Owe to the Adolescent Brain.” The Signposts Contrasts and Contradictions, Big Questions, and Numbers and Stats are introduced. Teaching notes include “Explain that Notice & Note Signposts are significant moments in the text that help readers understand and analyze words of fiction or nonfiction. Use the instructions on these pages to introduce students to the signposts...Then use the selection that follows to have students apply the signposts to the text.” There is an online Reading Studio that is available and displayed in the margin to access more information on these and other signposts.
  • Professional Learning modules are available online including a Getting Started: Welcome module, Introduction module, Exploration module, Reflection module, and Application module. These modules cover topics such as Learning Outcomes and Module Navigation.
  • Links are available in each lesson to access the appropriate studio via the Online Ed resources and a consistent symbol is used to flag these when appropriate. The following studios are available to access: Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, Grammar, and Vocabulary.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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.

Teacher's Edition provide background information and certain supports for teachers to present to students, such as Text X-Ray: English Learner Support feature.  There is no evidence of explanations of more challenging literacy ideas nor any cited resources where teachers can glean more understanding before supporting students. They often must read the explanations in the Student Edition.

  • The Teacher's Edition provides explanations of concepts in brief terms but does not offer additional examples or instructions for deepening understanding of content. Information provided is surface level, prompting teachers with explicit directions to guide students, but not how to conceptually understand ideas deeply themselves. Ex: In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, the Teacher's Edition gives the answers to Check Your Understanding questions that students answer independently and reads “If they answer any questions incorrectly, have them reread the text to confirm their understanding.” No additional teacher information or rationale for the answer is given. 
  • Background information is given on texts so that teachers can expand students' thinking about how the text might relate to the overall essential question of the unit.
  • The Teacher's Edition includes annotations on how to present information, such as question stems, that will assist students, but there are no clear supports that will assist a teacher in developing their own understanding of concepts. 
  • Notice & Note Signposts and anchor questions are fully explained in the Teacher's Edition. Specific suggestions for how to model the Notice & Note Signposts for students are provided in the teaching notes. 
  • Throughout the teaching materials, there are When Students Struggle...boxes with additional teaching notes on how to respond when a student has difficulty with a literacy concept or skill. In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, the When Students Struggle...offers Reteaching: Analyze Sonnet Structure.  There is additional information about traditional sonnet rhyme scheme and structure. Suggestions for how to make this accessible for all students are provided.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet 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.

Students will read and write across genres, utilizing the Notice & Note Reading Model. Studios are available to address grade level standards including Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, Grammar, and Vocabulary. Key Learning Objectives are available for each unit that connect to the grade level standards. The instructional materials include an online option allowing teachers to select a standard set to discover matching resources. In the ancillary materials, there is a CCSS Correlation chart that connects each standard to a lesson or lessons that address that standard. 

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, students practice skills, including but not limited to: analyze irony and analyze structure. The learning objectives correlate to the CCSS for the grade level, such as RL.8.6 and RI.8.5.
  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, as students read “The Hollow,” students are focused on the learning objective of, but not limited to, analyzing figurative language and making inferences about the speaker of the poem. These two standards connect to the grade 8 CCSS RL.8.3 and RL.8.4. 
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students practice skills, including but not limited to, analyze theme and analyze structure. The learning objectives correlate to the CCSS, such as RL.8.2 and RI.8.5.
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, as students read “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh,” students are focused on the learning objective of, but not limited to, analyze setting and  creating mood through author’s language. These two standards connect to grade 8 CCSS RL.8.2 and RL.8.4.

Indicator 3i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.

The Research Foundations Evidence Base preface to the modules includes how materials address the needs of today’s evolving classrooms. There are five main pillars in the Program Overview: 1. Maximizes growth through data-driven differentiation and targeted scaffolds. 2. Develops learners with positive habits of reading, writing, and thinking behavior to foster agency. 3. Fosters a learning culture with a focus on collaboration, peer interaction, and articulation of views. 4. Unburdens teachers to focus energy on the delivery of powerful instruction through simple, intuitive program design. 5. Empowers and supports teachers to be developers of high-impact learning experiences through embedded and ongoing professional learning. The Research Foundations Evidence Base provides research, explains how the materials deliver the desired outcomes of independence, agency, and metacognition, and explains how the materials integrate reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language strands through lessons, assessments, engagement strategies, and differentiation.

  • Research Foundations: Evidence Base includes a detailed discourse regarding the research-based practices that are integrated into the curriculum, such as student-centered learning, integration of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language.
  • Separate research-based categories have detail woven in from specific research studies that were conducted to support their findings, such as data-driven growth in assessments. 
  • Research Foundations includes a references section where references are given to all studies referenced within the curriculum materials. 
  • Research Foundations: Evidence Base explains how the Text X-Ray: English Learner Support meets the recommended practices research shows work best with English learners.
  • The Research Foundations: Evidence Base names components of student-centered learning: agency, independence, growth mindset, social and emotional learning, digital literacy, metacognition, differentiation, collaboration, grouping. Then it lists research and conclusions on those aspects of learning. This is followed by How Into Literature Delivers. It shows how the materials are designed to meet that need.

Indicator 3j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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.

The instructional materials include strategies for informing students about the ELA/literacy program. There is no evidence that this program is shared with other stakeholders, nor are there suggestions for parents and caregivers to support their student’s progress and/or achievement. The program assists students to be autonomous learners and teaches strategies to reach grade level standards. There is progress tracking data available to provide teachers with information to differentiate. 

  • The materials provide opportunities for ongoing assessment and data reporting utilizing a Report on Student Growth and Report on Standards Proficiency.
  • Reports in Ed allow teachers to view progress by class, students, assignments, and skill level. Teachers can adjust instruction based on the results in real time. 
  • The materials include opportunities for formative assessments, peer reviews, and Reflect on the Unit questions which students can use to monitor their progress. 
  • The assessment materials provide data for students and teachers on ongoing progress. Teachers and students have access to growth measurements, unit assessments, and ongoing formative assessments such as daily classwork checks. 
  • Teachers have ways to differentiate and adjust a student's instructional path including but not limited to the instructional purpose, standard, or genre. There are also a variety of supports that teachers can assign based on assessment data. These features are accessible in the online features. 
  • Students can also track their data and access support material in the online features.

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criterion for materials offer teacher resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards. The materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress. Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized and they provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up. The materials include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress. The materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

Indicator 3k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

Materials provide regular and systematic opportunities for assessment, including diagnostic assessments, interim assessments, selection and unit assessments, and end-of-unit assessments. Throughout the units are multiple measures formative assessments for grade level CCSS including, but not limited to, multiple choice, short answer, and longer writing tasks. The online feature also allows for the customized building of assessments. Materials genuinely measure student progress and provide information to inform instructional decisions. The Grade 6 materials include a comprehensive balanced assessment approach that includes baseline, and growth assessments, unit assessments based in standards, and ongoing formative assessments. The Growth Assessment is an adaptive assessment that is given three times a year to measure growth and provide data through an online Student Growth Report that teachers can use to differentiate instruction. Students that are particularly low can take a Reading Comprehension Diagnostic Assessment. 

  • The instructional materials include diagnostic assessments as online resources, such as the Reading Comprehension Diagnostic Assessment. This particular screening test assesses the student’s ability to read and comprehend text. The diagnostic assessment determines the student’s prior knowledge on the topic and provides data for the teacher to guide instructional decisions.
  • In the Grade 8 online features, teachers can assign and build assessments for students that can be based on a standard(s) or a text. For example, some options for an assessment include, but are not limited to, Literary Criticism Diagnostic, Grade 8 Module Pretest: The Sentence, Level Up Plot, and a Dracula Book Test.
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students are assessed on CCSS in a variety of measures. For example, during the reading of an excerpt from “My Favorite Chaperone” by Jean Davies Okimoto, students are asked to annotate for “...details in paragraph 8 that reveal the story’s main conflict.” At the end of the text, they answer three multiple choice questions including “What does paragraph 1 reveal about Maya and her conflict” and then a short answer to “...Maya tells a story about a student from Cambodia. How does this story enhance the plot’s rising action?” 
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, students can choose selections to read independently. One choice is to read a poem, “I Saw Old General at Bay,” by Walt Whitman and the online resources provide an opportunity to complete a selection test to assess skills practiced during the specific selection. There are seven standards listed prior to completion of the test. Selection tests are available consistently for each unit and text.
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, the Unit Task asks students to Write a Personal Narrative, Report and Reflect on the Unit. A scoring guide is available to evaluate the personal narrative. Online resources include The Legacy of Anne Frank Unit Test which identifies how students performed on key skills and standards practiced throughout the unit. The Unit 6 test includes 15 standards that are listed prior to completion of the test. There are six opportunities per year for students to complete a unit assessment.

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 Grade 8 meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

The Common Core State Standards Correlation booklet denotes which standards are being assessed in both formative and summative assessments. Additionally, in the Online Ed Assessment digital Teacher's Edition, the standards for each assessment are clearly denoted. 

  • In the accompanying Assessment Guide and in the Assessment section of the Research Foundations: Evidence Base, there are images of sample reports on standards proficiency for individual students. Standards are noted on the Assessment Report.
  • Selection Tests for each text are available within the units. Standards are noted in the Online Ed Teacher's Edition. In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, after reading “My Father and the Fig Tree” by Naomi Shihab Nye and are assessed over seven standards. In the digital Teacher's Edition, the teacher simply clicks “See Details” to expand and see the seven standards in full detail. 
  • The Common Core State Standards Correlation booklet lists each page within the curriculum where a standard is addressed. 
  • Each assessment that is taken, whether diagnostic, selection tests, or reading comprehension, has standards assigned to each item.
  • Standards view by class is available to show which standards have been covered by which assessments and to what degree of accuracy.

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up

The materials provide teachers with the opportunity to view student proficiency for any standard at any time. The materials include quality rubrics and scoring guides for end of unit tasks and can be used to assess the Standards to their full intent. Digital platform provides grouping suggestions, resources for follow up, and suggested lessons for teachers to utilize with struggling students. Quality guidance for the teacher to interpret assessment data is provided, including Self-Guided Lessons to allow for Remediation, Support, and Extension.

Culminating assessments include easy-to-use rubrics with built in feedback. 

  • Culminating writing tasks include detailed rubrics with multiple sections and clear skills so that students and teachers can see exactly what skills they need to improve on for follow up.
  • Assessments show student proficiency by standard with multiple different views available on the digital platform. Educators can view standard success by student, by class, by assessment, or even choose a student view that shows one student’s mastery of all standards covered at any point in time. 
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, the End-of Unit Task is a research report. There is a Scoring Guide Rubric to ensure the Standards are assessed to their full intent. The Scoring Guide Rubric assesses students on a scale of one to four with three bullet point descriptors for each of the following: Organization/Progression, Development of Ideas, and Use of Language and Conventions. 
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, the Teacher's Edition has quality suggestions for follow-up in the Reteaching: Analyze Rhetorical Devices section. The Teacher's Edition suggests using the Reading Studio Level Up Tutorial: Persuasive Techniques.

Indicator 3m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

In the Teacher's Edition, there are prompts and reminders when there are opportunities to monitor student progress, assess their skills, and provide feedback throughout the process. These include, but are not limited to: assessing an English learner’s comprehension and speaking skills, checking for understanding following the reading of a text, and assessing students’ comprehension skills with an ability to utilize Notice & Note signposts when reading independently.  A pacing guide is available to begin each unit with reminders of the selection tests available online to assign or print. 

  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, students read the short story “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs. English Learner Support is available in the Teacher's Edition, which includes questions for an oral assessment of students’ comprehension and speaking skills. For example, “3. Why does Mr. White not want to open the door in paragraphs 133-136? (He is scared of what is at the door.).
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, students read “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” by Ray Bradbury and the Teacher's Edition includes a prompt to ask students to answer questions independently to Check Your Understanding. Guidance is available which provides teachers with a key and additional notes: “If they answer any questions incorrectly, have them reread the text to confirm their understanding. Then they may proceed to Analyze the Text on page 284.”
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, for the Independent Reading part of the Unit, teachers are provided guidance on matching students and texts. Then teachers are instructed to “assess how well students read the selections, circulate throughout the room and listen to their conversations. Encourage students to be focused and specific in their comments.”
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, students identify the text or texts that they decide to read independently. A Collaborate and Share activity takes place with a partner. Students discuss what they learned from at least one of the independent readings. Teacher guidance is available in the Teacher's Edition: “To assess how well students read the selections, walk around the room and listen to their conversations. Encourage students to be focused and specific in their comments.”

Indicator 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 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.

Teachers select from hundreds of full-length works for fostering the love and commitment to reading. Students are also consistently given a choice in their independent reading materials. The materials include a flexible Independent Reading program, which includes an Independent Reading Library full of high-interest, motivating texts. The Notice & Note feature fosters independence in analysis and citation of text evidence. Studios offer additional instruction and provide self-paced instruction for key literacy skills. Independent reading is built into units and lessons with independent reading check-ins are provided. 

  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, the Teacher's Edition indicates how students are held accountable for Independent Reading. After students read their independent reading selections, they Collaborate and Share with a partner. Teachers assess how well students read the selections by walking around and listening in on their conversations. 
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, students choose a selection from five different genres: poetry, essay, short story, article, or speech. Their reading comprehension is assessed by Independent Reading Selection Tests that correspond with each selection. 
  • After reading each independent selection, students engage with one another in discussion to share what they learned, what they enjoyed, and other notable takeaways from their reading.
  • Each independent reading selection is paired with a selection test, which allows students to show what they’ve learned through their reading. Teachers can monitor comprehension and standards mastery through the digital platform.

Criterion 3o - 3r

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
9/10
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criterion for materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards. The 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 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; however, there are missed opportunities to extend learning for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. The materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.  

Indicator 3o

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria 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.

Consistently throughout the six units, teacher supports are in place in the Teacher's Edition to assist English learners  The support is provided via Text X-Ray, which provides light, moderate, and substantial support for English Learners. The materials provide guidance when texts and/or tasks might be challenging or frustrating to students. Teachers are capable of extending the learning with an option available following each text selection and online resources provide the ability to differentiate by creating homogenous and heterogenous groups of students. Foundational support is also provided throughout, such as reading fluency practice, and there are interactive videos, such as the Reading Studio, that can be accessed to provide support for students.  

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, the materials include a Text X-Ray: English Learner Support for “Heads Up, Humans” by Claudia Alarcón. As part of the planning process, teachers “Read paragraph 1 with students and then ask them to consider some of the advances in technology that add fun and convenience to their lives. Ask students to list examples of technology that were unavailable to their parents when they were growing up.” The Text X-Ray and the supports and scaffolds throughout the unit guide students at different proficiency levels. 
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, teacher guidance is available within the Teach section for the Notice & Note Reading Model. The Teacher's Edition includes notes to support struggling students: “Use Strategies Have students use the Somebody Wanted But So strategy to create one sentence summaries. Model writing the words of the strategy as heads on a chart…” The procedure and steps are available for teachers to complete this task with students. 
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, in the “Instruction Overview and Resources” there is a column for “Differentiated Instruction” which list eleven “When Students Struggle…” lessons and five “To Challenge Students…” sections. An example of “To Challenge Students is when students are reading “Not My Bones” by Marilyn Jenkins, students are given the task to Analyze Imagery and Theme: “Explain that the word essential comes from the Latin root esse, meaning “to be.” Ask students to analyze how the writer uses imagery to help the reader understand everything that is essential to a person’s being and develop the poem’s theme…”
  • In Unit 5, Finding Your Path, students compare the poems “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde and “Summer of His Fourteenth Year” by Gloria Amescua. Following the reading, students complete a mini-research task. To Extend: “With your group, select an appropriate method of sharing your research findings with the class. Then discuss what surprised you or what you found most interesting or noteworthy. Present the highlights of your research to the class.”

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria 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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria 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. All students engage in the same complex text. Scaffolds and supports are provided in the Text X-Ray, so that all students can access the complex texts and meet or exceed grade level standards. Resources are provided on Reading Studio to meet the needs of students who are below grade level or an English Language Learner with opportunities to learn at their own pace on literacy skills. Materials provide support for ELL students or other populations in the When Students Struggle...sections of the Teacher's Edition. In the teacher notes, general statements about EL students and suggested strategies located at the beginning of chapters are implemented in the materials throughout the curriculum. 

  • Text X-Ray sections prior to the reading of each text offer specific directions to teachers on how to make the text and specific ideas, strategies, or concepts accessible to students who need English Learner Support. An introduction to the selection is provided, a rundown on cultural references, and then specific sentence stems as well as directions are provided for Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing support for students at varying proficiency levels as they move through the text. In Unit 3, Surviving the Unthinkable, students read an excerpt “Into the Lifeboat” from Titanic Survivor. The Text X-Ray has teachers Introduce the Selection by discussing survival. 
  • Each text includes English Learner Support strategies for teachers to utilize in the form of questions, alternate explanations, other grouping options, and sentence stems. 
  • When Students Struggle support is offered throughout texts in areas where misconceptions might arise or where materials are particularly difficult. These supports offer teachers insight on another avenue that might help students reach their goal.
  • The digital integrated system allows teachers to differentiate instruction. Strategic grouping, Studios in Ed, an online teaching and learning system, and additional practice are delivered via the proficiency reports.
  • Resources are provided in Reading Studio to meet the needs of students who are below grade level or an English Language Learner with opportunities to learn at their own pace on literacy skills.

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 partially meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

The materials provide an opportunity to extend learning during a mini-research task to follow the reading of various selections. The tasks are meaningful and enrich the learning for students, though it is not indicated that the Extend task is meant to substitute for a different task. There are opportunities to differentiate book groups through the online resources to Create Groups. The pacing guide clearly indicates when differentiation is available “To Challenge Students.” The materials provide some opportunities for advanced students to investigate the grade-level content at a greater depth. These opportunities are in less than half of the texts with no opportunities in the others. Some of these tasks require students to do additional work rather than a differentiated task. 

  • In Unit 1, Gadgets and Glitches, there are only three “To Challenge Students…” tasks provided in this unit.  One is found in the lesson using the mentor text “Are Bionic Superhumans on the Horizon?” by Ramez Naam. The task is found at the end of the text addressing the call to action. “...identify critical issues and then brainstorm ideas for the next steps in preparing for the future of bionic technology. Ask students to use their analysis and ideas to write a multi-step action plan.” There is no indication that this is a replacement task but rather an additional task. 
  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, students read “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. An opportunity to challenge students is present to “Analyze Voice.” Guidance is available to the teacher: “Have students identify sentence fragments, unusual placements of punctuation, and unconventional word order...to explore the narrator’s personality and voice. Have students describe the voice of the narrator and discuss the effect of Poe’s word choices on creating the narrator’s voice.” There is no instruction to indicate that this activity is meant to replace another task and appears to be in addition to other work. 
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, students compare treatments of a poem “Not My Bones” by Marilyn Nelson and an excerpt from Fortune’s Bones by Pamela Espeland. Guidance is available to the teacher to challenge students to analyze imagery and theme: “Ask students to analyze how the writer uses imagery to help readers understand everything that is essential to a person’s being and develop the poem’s theme..have them discuss their ideas with others and share their findings with the class.” 
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, the materials provide guidance to Extend learning during a mini-research unit to follow the reading of the drama The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett: “With a partner or group, create a parallel timeline of key events in Anne Frank's life. Then discuss how the events taking place in Europe impacted her and her family.”

Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

The materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies. Numerous strategies are presented at varying times throughout the curriculum that encourage students and teachers to engage with each other in partnerships, small groups, and other ensembles and promote class-wide learning and accessibility of materials.

  • In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, at the beginning of each text, at least two small grouping strategies are provided to teacher as an option for how to group students for reading. For example, prior to reading “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, the Teacher's Edition suggests experts (jigsaw) grouping or developing questions small groups where students are grouped by the intriguing questions they have during reading. These grouping options vary with each text. 
  • In Unit 4, The Fight for Freedom, student tasks throughout units encourage students at varying times to work in partners, small groups, and other units in order to accomplish tasks. For example, after reading an excerpt from The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass, students utilize a supporting checklist to effectively discuss with a small group a particular quote from the text. 
  • In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, alternate grouping options are provided for students who may struggle, such as English Language Learners, as a way for them to access more difficult materials and ideas through working with a group instead of independently. For example, while reading The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, one support reads “Have students read aloud paragraph 399.” Once read aloud, the Teacher's Edition offers multiple sentence stems to support comprehension of the paragraph amongst a small group. 
  • In Unit 1, Gadget and Glitches, students compare two arguments, “The Automation Paradox” and “Heads Up, Humans.” In the Collaborate & Compare task, students work in groups to complete a Venn Diagram, answer questions, and debate.

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criterion for materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms. Digital materials are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers, “platform neutral,” follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate. Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations and the materials can be easily customized for local use. The materials do not include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other.

Indicator 3s

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria 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 include instructional technology resources that are web-based and compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g. Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox). The materials are accessible on both Windows and Apple platforms. The student resources are accessible on tablets and other mobile devices, as well as personal computers. Examples of devices students can utilize include iPads, Google Chromebooks, as well as other laptops or desktop computers. Small cellular devices can be used with Internet access, though there are limitations with accessing assessments.

  • The student resources open and display on tablets and other mobile devices, as well as personal computers. When accessing the reading selections, students can view and complete activity checks using a small mobile device. A mobile device, such as a cellular phone, is not a conducive device to access the assessments due to the display not configuring correctly to the size needed (e.g. words will string into one long line and will not appear on the page). When using a larger tablet, such as an iPad, students can access the assessments and complete the assessment without difficulty navigating the pages or reading the content. A Google Chromebook allows access and opens assessments correctly. 
  • Both Google Chrome and Safari work to access the materials. Popups must be enabled on devices, otherwise the assessments will not be able to open in a new window. Students may need assistance to adjust the settings on the device. An example is the Interflora Selection Test which opens and displays all the text, including the Start, Next, and Finish buttons. The same assessment would not open using Safari until the popup function was enabled. 
  • The student materials online allow students to create notes and listen and follow along to read aloud of the texts, with a highlighting feature. Most of the tasks can be done interactively, but some link to a PDF that would need to be printed out or converted to be able to complete digitally. For example, the Word Network graphic organizer at the beginning of Unit 2, Places We Call Home, links to a PDF that cannot be typed in to. While other PDFs, such as the Compare and Contrast chart in the teacher’s site, allowed a user to type into the PDF.
  • There are options available to print the materials from the online resources and to work offline using a device when students cannot access the Internet. The student work will sync and update when accessing the Internet again.

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate. 

Technology is used throughout modules and lessons to enhance student learning and draw attention to evidence and texts with digital annotation tools. The Reading Studio provides independent practice in specific reading skills and strategies. Close Read Screencasts show students how dialogues can reveal meaning and can be used to model readers’ discussions and annotations as they analyze difficult passages. Producing & Publishing with Technology allows students to use technology effectively. 

  • The Reading Studio provides independent practice in specific reading skills and strategies. In Unit 6, The Legacy of Anne Frank, students read the speech “After Auschwitz” by Elie Wiesel. The Reading Studio has students use the Notice & Note Signposts Extreme or Absolute Language to better understand the message of the speech.
  • Close Read Screencasts show students how dialogues can reveal meaning and can be used to model readers’ discussions and annotations as they analyze difficult passages. In Unit 2, The Thrill of Horror, “What is the Horror Genre?” in the Student Edition videos there are Close Read Screencasts where the text is read aloud with a highlight tracking features. There is a discussion modeled for students. The two narrators stop, notice what the author says and what comment on what this tells them about the author’s purpose.
  • Producing & Publishing with Technology allows students to use technology effectively.  Throughout the text, students have the opportunity to create a logo, a movie trailer, an infographic and a theme song.

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. 

The annotation tools allow students to personalize information. Teachers can use strategic grouping to support differentiated instruction. Independent reading selections incorporate student choice and allow students to explore a variety of genres and teachers can personalize to make recommendations and pair students with texts based on complexity. A balanced assessment system provides teachers with a way to personalize instruction; teachers can create a learning path for each student through ongoing assessments. While not as robust as the teacher's abilities, students also have the capability to adapt their learning through features such as read aloud, accessing supports in the online Studios, and a one-click glossary function for some vocabulary.  

  • A Groups function is available in the online resources for teachers to personalize groups of students based on progress monitoring data. These groups can be homogenous or heterogenous to accommodate diverse learners and their individual needs. 
  • In Unit 3, Places We Call Home, students complete an Independent Reading Section when they check off texts they select to read. There are five selections available. In the Teacher's Edition there are notes for Matching Students to Texts. Each selection lists the title, genre, and overall rating in terms of whether it is “Challenging” or “Accessible” with the accompanying Lexile level when applicable. Teachers can use this information to personalize and help guide students in using their texts. In Unit 3, the Lexile levels range from 700L-1220L for the independent reading selections. There are additional notes to assist teachers in personalizing for students who need support for noticing and reflecting on the texts in the form of a Reading Log.
  • A balanced assessment system is available with the program to inform instructional decisions; these include a Growth Measure three times per year, Unit Assessments six times per year, and formative assessments with ongoing feedback from daily classroom activities. Examples of formative assessments include: comprehension checks, selection tests, skills practice, and other learning experiences. Teachers have the ability to Create assessments online; these can be customized, adapted, and assigned for various groups of students using the technological resources.

Indicator 3u.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

Teachers can customize the digital materials. There are embedded ongoing professional learning opportunities to support teachers which includes technical services to plan, prepare, implement, and operate technology. If students do not have Wifi at home, they can download and then access needed materials when they are offline. The program allows the option for teachers to use provided assessments or create their own with Ed, an online teaching and learning system. Teachers have flexibility to customize lesson plans based on their students’ needs. There is an existing folder for specific state resources that can be easily expanded to support states that are using different standards than CCSS. 

  • The Digital Sampler describes A New Comprehensive Literacy Solution and highlights that teachers can use “Into Literature’s instructional path or create their own units with intuitive online planning tools.” Teachers can choose to teach by theme, instructional purpose, standards, and genre. 
  • If students are accessing materials from home using the online resources, those without Wifi can download the materials while at school and read and complete activities offline. 
  • For students who need tests printed, teachers have the capability to access a print-friendly version of assessments to meet those needs.
  • Teachers can create their own unique groups and customize based on their student population and data from ongoing assessments.
  • There is a feature in the online Teacher Resources for “State-Specific Resources.” Presently, the only materials are the CCSS and Indiana State Standards.

Indicator 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 8 do not meet the criteria 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.)

The materials reviewed for Grade 8 do not meet the criteria that materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and students to collaborate with each other. Collaboration within the curriculum only occurs in person within groups; there is no utilization of online platforms or technologies that promote teacher or students collaboration.

  • There is no evidence of any online collaboration between students in any format whether that be discussion, editing and reviewing, websites, or webinars.
  • Although there are digital resources such as the Speaking & Listening Studio with self-paced lessons for students, there is not a digital discussion board or any evidence of a website to host student to student or student to teacher collaboration.
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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 11/07/2019

Report Edition: 2020

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
HMH Into Literature Grade 8 Student Print/Digital Package 978-1-328-60747-8 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2020
HMH Into Literature Grade 8 Teacher Print/Digital Package 978-1-328-60803-1 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2020

About Publishers Responses

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

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

Educator-Led Review Teams

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

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

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

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 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

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