Alignment: Overall Summary

Mirrors & Windows Grade 7 materials partially meet the expectations of alignment to the Common Core ELA standards. The materials include some instruction, practice, and authentic application of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language work that is engaging and at an appropriate level of rigor for the grade.

Alignment

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Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality and Complexity

0
18
32
36
24
32-36
Meets Expectations
19-31
Partially Meets Expectations
0-18
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
15
23
25
N/A
23-25
Meets Expectations
16-22
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality and Complexity and Alignment to the Standards with Tasks and Questions Grounded in Evidence

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the expectations for high-quality texts, appropriate text complexity, and evidence-based questions and tasks aligned to the standards. The Mirrors & Windows program includes a literature anthology of full texts and supporting excerpts that appropriately balance the exploration of literary and informational texts, as required by the standards. Some texts are appropriately complex for the grade level. Although the program utilizes a gradual release of responsibility reading model, students often do not receive support as texts become more complex. The progression of complexity does not increase across the year. Students read a variety of text types and have choice in their independent reading selections. Oral and written text-specific and text-dependent questions support students in making meaning of the core understandings of the texts being studied. Materials support teachers with planning and implementing text-based questions. Materials provide frequent speaking and listening opportunities for students, with some opportunities for teacher modeling of academic vocabulary and syntax; however, materials lack evidence of speaking and listening protocols. Speaking and listening instruction includes some facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers; however, materials lack relevant follow-up questions and supports. While materials provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they are reading through various speaking opportunities, including opportunities that require students to utilize, apply, and incorporate evidence from texts and/or sources, many of these tasks are optional. Although materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing, writing opportunities in each mode are unevenly distributed. While process writing includes opportunities for students to revise their work, Writing Workshops rarely include explicit instruction. While students have opportunities to write about what they are reading, including opportunities to support their analyses and claims using evidence from texts and/or sources, many of these opportunities are optional. Explicit evidence-based writing instruction is largely absent. Materials include limited explicit instruction of grade-level grammar and usage. Materials miss opportunities to address standards or address standards that are included in a subsequent grade level. Opportunities for authentic application in context are limited. Although materials include opportunities for students to interact with key academic vocabulary words in and across texts, materials do not outline the program’s plan for vocabulary development or provide teacher guidance to support students’ vocabulary development.

Criterion 1a - 1e

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.

14/18
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-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the expectations for text quality and complexity. Materials include high-quality texts and appropriately balance informational and literary texts as required by the standards; however, some texts are not appropriately complex and the progression of text complexity does not increase across the year.

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of high quality, worthy of careful reading, and consider a range of student interests.

4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for Indicator 1a.

Anchor texts are rich in language, engaging, and relevant. Texts encompass universal and multicultural themes including learning values and responding to nature. These selections are a mix of not only popular texts typically seen in classrooms, but also lesser-known excerpts from personal writings that bring a different perspective into the classroom. Texts further build upon themes and skills explored in the preceding grade. Texts provide multiple reading levels to help students broaden their knowledge base and personal perspectives at various levels of depth and meaning. Many of these texts included in the materials are written by award-winning authors such as Ernest Hemingway. The readings span a wide range of interests, from short stories about lonely ancient sea creatures and lost love to serious selections that engage students in discussing real-world problems.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students read “A Day’s Wait,” a short story written by Ernest Hemingway, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1953) and Nobel Prize in Literature (1954). Students explore the theme of what can be learned from unexpected experiences.

  • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students read the short story, “Amigo Brothers” by Piri Thomas. The story, set in an urban backdrop, explores the enduring nature of true friendship in the face of competition. Students delve deeper into analyzing character development and how an author’s own experiences can influence the story’s point-of-view. 

  • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students read an informational text written by Arthur Ashe titled “A Black Athlete Looks at Education.” This text invites students to dialogue about real-world issues pertaining to barriers in both athletics and academics for black students.

  • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, students read the essay,“Ships in the Desert” by former Vice President Al Gore. This excerpt appeared in his collection, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit. The essay, which integrates other content areas, raises students' awareness of environmental issues and poses solutions to the problems created by man. 

  • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students read “Under the Apple Tree,” a lyric poem written by Diana Rivera. This poem is an anchor text for the unit and introduces the idea of “shared experiences” as a way to incorporate argumentative writing and cross-curricular connections. 

  • In Unit 6, Searching Beneath the Surface, students read the lyric poem, “Name Giveaway,” by award-winning Nez Perce poet Phil George. This lyric poem explores how the forced renaming of Native Americans to English names robs people of their culture. 

  • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students read the drama, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, as a dramatic anchor text. Students read the full script, bringing this classic play to life in the classroom. 

  • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students read the Greek myth,“Phaethon, Son of Apollo,” by Oliva E. Coolidge. The myth about the mortal son of God Apollo utilizes rich language.

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 instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for Indicator 1b. 

Materials contain a variety of text types and reflect an appropriate balance of informational and literary texts. Each unit has a genre focus, with texts from other genres dispersed throughout the unit. Some text types included are short stories, informational articles, diagrams, essays, fables, folk tales, biographies, diary entries, and multiple forms of poetry. Each unit includes suggested independent reading books that correspond with the unit’s genre focus. Materials also provide a vast collection of e-books for additional independent reading. Grade 7 contains two nonfiction units. Of the 121 core and supporting texts students read during the year, 39 of the selections are informational, resulting in a 32/68 balance of informational and literary texts.

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the grade level standards. Materials reflect a 55/45 balance of informational and literary texts. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students read the short story, “A Day’s Wait.” by Ernest Hemingway. and the autobiography, “The Green Mamba” by Roald Dahl. Students read a total of 14 core and supporting texts, including one informational core text and three Informational Text Connection selections, resulting in a 29/71 balance of informational and literary texts. 

  • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students read a short story titled “Amigo Brothers” written by Piri Thomas, and a biography titled “The Greatest: Muhammed Ali” written by Walter Dean Myers. Students read a total of 12 core and supporting texts, all of which are literary selections with the exception of one Informational Text Connection selection, resulting in an 8/92 balance of informational and literary texts. 

  • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students read an excerpt from the memoir, ``An American Childhood,'' by Annie Dillard, and the editorial, “A Black Athlete Looks at Education” by Arthur Ashe. Students read a total of 18 core and supporting texts, including 11 informational core texts and three Informational Text Connection selections, resulting in a 78/22 balance of informational and literary texts. 

  • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, students view a Hmong story cloth created by Mee Vang and an autobiography titled “An Unforgettable Journey” written by Maijue Xiong. Students read a total of 16 core and supporting texts, including nine informational core texts and four Informational Text Connection selections, resulting in an 81/19 balance of informational and literary texts. 

  • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students read the lyric poem, “The Tropics in New York” by Claude McKay, and the lyric poem, “Miracles” by Walt Whitman. Students read a total of 18 core and supporting texts, all of which are literary selections with the exception of two Informational Text Connection selections, resulting in a 11/89 balance of informational and literary texts. 

  • In Unit 6, Searching Beneath the Surface, students read a narrative poem titled “The Lost Parrot” by Naomi Shihab Nye, and a memoir titled “An Indian Boy's Story” by Ah-nen-la-de-ni. Students read a total of 16 core and supporting texts, all of which are literary selections with the exception of one Informational Text Connection selection, resulting in a 6/94 balance of informational and literary texts. 

  • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students read the drama, A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley by Israel Horovitz, and review illustrations from “A Christmas Carol” by John Leech. Students read a total of nine core and supporting texts, all of which are literary selections with the exception of three Informational Text Connection selections, resulting in a 33/67 balance of informational and literary texts. 

  • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students read an Egyptian Myth titled “The Secret Name of Ra” written by Geraldine Harris, and a folktale titled “Eshu” written by Judith Gleason. Students read a total of 18 core and supporting texts, including one informational core text and one Informational Text Connection selection, resulting in a 11/89 balance of informational and literary texts.

Indicator 1c

Core/Anchor texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to documented quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Documentation should also include rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

2/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1c.

Grade 7 texts quantitatively range between 550L–1520L for the year. Most texts that fall outside of the Grades 6–8 Lexile Stretch Band have qualitative measures that make them appropriately complex for the grade. The relationship of the quantitative and qualitative analyses to the associated reader task is not appropriately complex. Students often make graphic organizers to track the reading skill of focus, and their post-reading use of these charts varies. While some Extend Understanding tasks serve as associated reader tasks, these tasks are optional and may not occur during core instruction. Extend Understanding task options often do not connect to the graphic organizer students create at the start of their reading. Although materials include text complexity information for quantitative and qualitative measures, the documentation does not include a rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

Core/Anchor texts do not have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to documented quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Documentation does not include a rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Anchor/Core texts do not have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task.

    • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students focus on fiction. Of the thirteen selections read in this unit, nine fall below the Grades 6–8 Lexile Stretch Band and two fall within the stretch band. The other two remaining texts do not have a Lexile level. Students read the short story, “Amigo Brothers” by Piri Thomas (890L). This Directed Reading text, which falls below the Grades 6–8 Lexile Stretch Band, serves as the anchor text for the unit and has a Reading Level of Moderate. Vocabulary is identified as a Difficulty Consideration and vivid description is listed as an Ease Factor. “To determine the overall message of the story,” students use a drawing conclusions log to “keep track of the characters’ motivations and actions as well as the key points in the plot.” Students use this log during the Informative Writing Extend Understanding option when writing a “four-paragraph informative essay that maintains the meaning and logical order of the selection;” however, this associated reader task is based on teacher selection and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students focus on poetry. Of the fifteen selections read in this unit, thirteen do not have a Lexile level. One Informational Text Connection piece falls significantly above the Grades 6–8 Lexile Stretch Band, while the other falls slightly below the stretch band. The anchor text for this unit is the lyric poem, “Under the Apple Tree,” by Diana Rivera (NP). Students read this selection along with an Informational Text Connection piece, an excerpt from the essay, “The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan (1520L), a text that is significantly above the Grades 6–8 Lexile Stretch Band. The Reading Level for “Under the Apple Tree,” a Directed Reading text, is listed as Moderate with personification identified as a Difficulty Consideration and imagery listed as an Ease Factor. The Reading Level for “The Botany of Desire” is listed as Moderate; materials do not identify Difficulty Considerations or Ease Factors. Students use a chart to identify and analyze the effects of different levels of meaning created by the author’s use of images, metaphors, similes, and sound devices. Students demonstrate their understanding of poetic elements during the Creative Writing option in the Extend Understanding section. Materials direct students to “[w]rite a lyric poem describing a secret hideaway that you have or can imagine. Your poem does not have to rhyme, but it should contain poetic elements, such as alliteration, assonance, consonance, imagery, and figures of speech.” This associated reader task is based on teacher selection and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students focus on poetry. Of the eighteen selections read in this unit, ten are below the Grades 6–8 Lexile Stretch Band, five are within it, and one is above the stretch band. The remaining two selections do not have a Lexile level. As the anchor text for the unit, students read “Tsali of the Cherokees,” an oral history by Norah Roper, as told to Alice Lee Marriott (820L). This text is paired with an Informational Text Connection selection, “Moving West: A Native American Perspective,” a magazine article by Christine Graf (930L). Both selections fall below the Grades 6–8 Lexile Stretch Band. The Reading Level for Marriott’s Directed Reading text is listed as Moderate with vocabulary identified as a Difficulty Consideration and sympathetic narrator and plot listed as Ease Factors. The Reading Level for Graf’s work is listed as Easy; materials do not identify Difficulty Considerations or Ease Factors. Students use a two-column chart to “identify the author’s purpose for recording and retelling this story.” After reading, students use their chart to assist them with thesis formation and support their literary analysis of Tsali’s character during the Informative Writing Extend Understanding option. This associated reader task is based on teacher selection and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

  • Anchor/Core texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by an accurate text complexity analysis; however, the text complexity analysis does not include a rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

    • The Text Overview page for each selection includes the following text complexity information: the gradual release of responsibility stage (i.e., Guided Reading: Close Reading Model, Directed Reading, Independent Reading), Reading Level and Lexile level, Difficulty Considerations, and Ease Factors. Materials do not explain the educational purpose of the text and the reason for its placement in the grade level.

Indicator 1d

Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band to support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1d.

While series of texts are largely at a variety of complexity levels, the complexity of anchor texts and supporting texts students read does not provide an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to grow across the year. Text overviews often include Use Reading Skills and Analyze Literature tasks that outline an area of focus and task students with creating a chart to analyze or evaluate the area of focus; however, students rarely use the chart they make to complete an associated reader task after reading the text. Extend Understanding tasks, while optional, often do not provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the focus area. When provided, associated reader tasks do not increase in complexity over the course of the year. While the program’s gradual release of responsibility reading model “emphasizes scaffolded instruction,” students often do not receive support as texts become more complex. Because the Lexile levels of text selections increase within most units, students receive the most support during Guided Reading at the beginning of the unit, when Lexile levels typically fall below the Lexile Stretch Band, and the least support during Independent Reading at the end of the unit, when Lexile levels are typically at the high end or above the Lexile Stretch Band.

Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band to support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • The complexity of anchor texts students read does not provide an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to increase across the year, encompassing an entire year’s worth of growth. 

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, texts range from 660L–1360L. During the Guided Reading: Close Reading Model section of the unit, students read “After Twenty Years” by O. Henry (810L) and analyze its plot. The quantitative measure places this text below the Grades 6– 8 Lexile Stretch Band. The Reading Level for this text is listed as Moderate, with vocabulary and irony identified as Difficulty Considerations, and plot twist identified as an Ease Factor. Guidance in the Analyze Literature section of the Text Overview page includes: “As you read ‘After Twenty Years,’ identify the conflict and make predictions about how the conflict will be resolved based on the text structure. While reading, ask yourself questions such as: Is there a strong central conflict? What do I think will happen to the characters at the end?” After reading, students “[u]se a plot diagram to identify the exposition, climax, and resolution” of the text, when responding to an Analyze Literature prompt. The associated reader task does not address its correlated standard: “Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).” Materials do not provide opportunities for students to address plot in the four Extend Understanding task options.

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, texts have a quantitative measure of NP because this unit focuses on drama. The one exception is an Informational Text Connection article with a Lexile level of 1160. During the Directed Reading section of the unit, students read the anchor text, A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley by Israel Horovitz (NP), and analyze the plot. The Reading Level for this text is listed as Challenging, with vocabulary and setting identified as Difficulty Considerations; and familiar, interesting story listed as an Ease Factor. The Analyze Literature section of the text overview page includes the following guidance: “As you read A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley, think about how these plot elements work together to create an interesting and suspenseful story.” During the post-reading Analyze Literature prompt, students are asked to create a plot diagram for the play, “noting the part or parts of the plot that appear in each scene. For each plot part you identify, write the scene number on your diagram; in addition, include a brief description of the action that occurred during that part of the plot. Add to the plot diagram as you read Act 2.” During the Collaborative Learning option in the Extend Understanding section, students work in small groups to “discuss why the story of A Christmas Carol has remained so popular for so many years.” Guidance directs students to “[c]onsider the main themes, the traits and flaws of the characters, and the conflicts that drive the characters and the plot.”

  • As texts become more complex, some scaffolds and/or materials are provided in the Teacher Edition (i.e., spending more time on texts, more questions, repeated readings).

    • The front matter of the Teacher Edition explains the program’s gradual release of responsibility reading model: “Guided Reading at the beginning of the unit (Grades 6–10) provides the framework for the teacher to guide students through the reading process. Close Reading Models walk students through the selections and demonstrate how to analyze literature and apply reading skills and strategies to each genre.” Next, the gradual release reading model transitions students to Directed Reading. During this stage, “the teacher begins to transfer responsibility to the students. Students are directed through explicit pre- and post-reading instruction, but during-reading support is reduced to encourage students to practice reading skills and monitor comprehension on their own.” The reading model concludes with Independent Reading. This stage “advances the total release of responsibility from the teacher to the students, who can now apply the skills and knowledge required to read increasingly more difficult selections on their own.”

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, students read the historical essay, “The Face of the Deep is Frozen,” by Jennifer Armstrong (1150L), along with the Literature Connection piece, “Fire and Ice,” a lyric poem by Robert Frost (NP).  during Directed Reading. The historical essay falls at the high end of the Grades 6–8 Lexile Stretch Band. This Directed Reading text has a Reading Level of Challenging, with concepts and vocabulary listed as Difficulty Considerations and gripping content listed as an Ease Factor. The Reading Level for Frost’s poem is listed as Moderate. Materials do not identify Difficulty Considerations or Ease Factors. Prior to reading the paired selection, students complete a cloze sentence activity during which they “[t]ry to determine the meaning of each [Preview Vocabulary] word using the context clues in the sentences.” With no additional explanation or guidance, it is unclear how the pre-reading activity provides instruction or supports students with accessing the text. The Preview Vocabulary terms are also defined on the Text Overview page and in the footnotes of the text. The Build Background section of the Text Overview page includes historical context information and the Teacher Wrap in the Teacher Edition includes a Geography Connection note, as well as a History Connection note on Antarctica to support students with accessing the text.  

    • In Unit 6, Searching Beneath the Surface, students read the anchor text, “Name Giveaway,” a lyric poem by Phil George (NP), along with the Primary Source Connection piece, an excerpt from the memoir, An Indian Boy’s Story by Ah-nen-la-de-ni (1510L). The memoir excerpt falls significantly above the Grades 6–8 Lexile Stretch Band. Materials identify the Reading Level of the Directed Reading anchor text as Easy with topic identified as a Difficulty Consideration and vocabulary listed as an Ease Factor. The Reading Level for the memoir excerpt is listed as Moderate. Materials do not identify Difficulty Considerations or Ease Factors. The Use Reading Skills inset explains the definition of a couplet and directs students to use “a two-column chart to note the idea or emotion expressed in each couplet.” Students also respond to one Analyze Literature prompt addressing lyric poetry. When reading the excerpt from An Indian Boy’s Story, the Teacher Wrap in the Teacher Edition includes a Cultural Connection note on lacrosse. Students respond to Analyze Literature prompts and questions addressing characterization. After reading both selections, students respond to an Analyze Literature prompt addressing lyric poetry.

Indicator 1e

Materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their reading at grade level by the end of the school year, including accountability structures for independent reading.

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 meet the criteria for Indicator 1e. 

Materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a wide range of reading that follows a gradual release, close reading model. Materials include suggested pacing for text selections. The daily and weekly volume of reading in which students engage is contingent upon the type of schedule—regular or block—that they follow. At the start of each unit, students read Guided Reading selections that “[model] the close read process.” Students transition to Directed Reading selections that include supports for before- and after-reading activities. The unit ends with Independent Reading eSelections that “provide students with the opportunity to practice skills on their own.” Materials also include a For Your Reading List page at the end of each unit. This page includes independent reading suggestions that “[e]xtend the unit theme with relevant, diverse titles” and “[e]ncourage application of close reading strategies and skills.” Although materials include a reading log, materials do not include guidance on its use. Materials include a significant online eLibrary with eSelections that include activities that allow students to independently check their understanding.

Materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their reading at grade level by the end of the school year, including accountability structures for independent reading. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading a variety of text types and genres.  

    • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students read multiple texts such as: “The Scholarship Jacket,” a short story by Marta Salinas, an excerpt from The Greatest: Muhammad Ali, a biography written by Walter Dean Myers, and “in the inner city,” a lyric poem by Lucille Clifton. Throughout the unit, students progress through a gradual release model that includes Guided Reading, Directed Reading, and Independent Reading. During Guided Reading, the teacher provides “[e]xtensive support before, during, and after reading in Close Reading Models.” During Directed Reading, the teacher provides “[e]xtensive support before and after reading” and “[directs] students to practice skills during reading.” During Independent Reading, the teacher provides “[m]inimal support before and after reading; students apply skills independently.” 

    • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students read multiple texts such as: “Father William,” a humorous poem by Lewis Carroll, “The Botany of Desire,” an excerpt from the essay by Michael Pollan, and “Haiku,” a haiku by Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa, translated by Robert Hass. Throughout the unit, students progress through a gradual release model that includes Guided Reading, Directed Reading, and Independent Reading. During Guided Reading, the teacher provides “[e]xtensive support before, during, and after reading in Close Reading Models.” During Directed Reading, the teacher provides “[e]xtensive support before and after reading” and “[directs] students to practice skills during reading.” During Independent Reading, the teacher provides “[m]inimal support before and after reading; students apply skills independently.” 

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students read multiple texts such as: “The Secret Name of Ra,” an Egyptian myth written by Geraldine Harris, an excerpt from “Akhenaton’s Hymn to the Sun,”a hymn written by John A. Wilson, and “Moving West: A Native American Perspective,” a magazine article written by Christine Graf. Throughout the unit, students progress through a gradual release model that includes Guided Reading, Directed Reading, and Independent Reading. During Guided Reading, the teacher provides “[e]xtensive support before, during, and after reading in Close Reading Models.” During Directed Reading, the teacher provides “[e]xtensive support before and after reading” and “[directs] students to practice skills during reading.” During Independent Reading, the teacher provides “[m]inimal support before and after reading; students apply skills independently.” 

  • Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in a volume of reading.

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students read four texts during Guided Reading; eight texts, including two eSelections, during Directed Reading; and two eSelections during Independent Reading. Based on suggested lesson pacing, students typically spend three to four regular schedule days or one and one -half to two block schedule days on a text during Guided Reading, two to four regular schedule days or one to two block schedule days on a text during Directed Reading, and one to two regular schedule days  or one-half to one block schedule days on a text during Independent Reading. Materials include a For Your Reading List page at the end of the unit. This page contains a list of independent reading options but guidance notes that students may select a text from the six options on the provided list, “[their] classroom, school, or community library, or from novels or short story collections [they] have at home.” Pacing guidance is as follows: “Read the text or collection independently, scheduling blocks of time for reading over the course of several days or a couple of weeks.”

    • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students read nine texts during Guided Reading; seven texts, including four eSelections, during Directed Reading; and two eSelections during Independent Reading. Based on suggested lesson pacing, students typically spend two to four regular schedule days  or one to two block schedule days on a text during Guided Reading; one or three regular schedule, or one half or one and a half block schedule days on a text during Directed Reading; and one regular schedule day or one half block schedule day on a text during Independent Reading. Materials include a For Your Reading List page at the end of the unit. This page contains a list of independent reading options but guidance notes that students may select a text from the six options on the provided list, “[their] classroom, school, or community library, or from nonfiction texts [they] have at home.” Pacing guidance is as follows: “Read the text or collection independently, scheduling blocks of time for reading over the course of several days or a couple of weeks.”

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students read one text during Guided Reading; eight texts, including three eSelections, during Directed Reading; and one eSelection during Independent Reading. Based on suggested lesson pacing, students typically spend three regular schedule days or one and a half block schedule days on the text during Guided Reading, two to four regular schedule days or one to two block schedule days on a text during Directed Reading, and two regular schedule days or one block schedule day on the text during Independent Reading. Materials include a For Your Reading List page at the end of the unit. This page contains a list of independent reading options but guidance notes that students may select a text from the six options on the provided list, “[their] classroom, school, or community library, or from drama collections [they] have at home.” Pacing guidance is as follows: “Read the play or collection independently, scheduling blocks of time for reading over the course of several days or a couple of weeks.”

  • There is sufficient teacher guidance to foster independence for all readers (e.g., independent reading procedures, proposed schedule, tracking system for independent reading).

    • Each independent reading eSelection includes suggested pacing. Teacher guidance for some eSelections includes specific independent reading suggestions for students who enjoyed the topic covered. Materials include a For Your Reading List page that includes a list of six independent reading selections with a short synopsis of each of the text options. Students choose one of the texts and create a schedule for their independent reading. The Teacher Wrap also includes guidance for an Independent Reading Activity option. The Program Guide contains a reading log; however, materials do not include guidance on how to utilize the reading log during independent reading.

    • Materials include an extensive online eLibrary that “contains over 300 literary and informational texts that students may read independently,” as well as selection tests which students can use to check their progress and monitor their comprehension.

Criterion 1f - 1m

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

10/18
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-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the expectations for evidence-based discussions and writing about texts. Materials include oral and written questions and tasks grounded in the text, requiring students to use information from the text to support their answers and demonstrate comprehension of what they are reading. Materials do not include speaking and listening protocols. Speaking and listening instruction includes some facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers; however, materials lack relevant follow-up questions and supports. Although materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing, writing opportunities in each mode are unevenly distributed. Writing Workshops include revision and editing opportunities; however, materials rarely include explicit writing instruction. Although students have opportunities to write about what they are reading, including opportunities to support their analyses and claims using evidence from texts and/or sources, many of these opportunities are optional. Materials lack explicit evidence-based writing instruction. Materials miss opportunities for explicit instruction of grade-level grammar and usage standards. Opportunities for authentic application in context are limited. Although materials include opportunities for students to interact with key academic vocabulary words in and across texts, materials do not outline the program’s plan for vocabulary development or provide teacher guidance to support students’ vocabulary development.

Indicator 1f

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-specific and/or 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 7 meet the criteria for Indicator 1f. 

Materials include text-specific and text-dependent questions, tasks, and assignments, which support students in making meaning of the texts read and require students to engage with the text directly. The Teacher Wrap in the margins of the Teacher Edition includes guidance that supports teachers with implementing text-based tasks and questions. Most questions refer students back to the text or require students to use examples, details, or evidence from the text. The Teacher Wrap also includes possible student responses to support teachers with planning and implementing text-based questions and tasks.

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-specific and/or 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). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Text-specific and text-dependent questions and tasks support students in making meaning of the core understandings of the texts being studied.

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students read “The War of the Wall” by Toni Cade Bambara. After reading, students refer back to the story to answer Text-Dependent Questions, such as “What is the setting of the story? What details provide clues about the time and place?” and “How does the narrator’s attitude toward the painter change? What lesson might be learned from the narrator’s experience?”

    • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students read a paired selection containing the short story, “Jed’s Grandfather” by Joseph Bruchac and the lyric poem, “The Courage That My Mother Had” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Students create a graphic organizer to record details from the text that help them determine the tones of the short story and the poem. After reading, students use the chart to answer the following questions: “What words used to describe Jed’s dream most influence the tone?” and “How do the words rock, granite, and courage contribute to the tone and theme of the poem?”

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, students independently read the scientific essay, “Death in the Open” by Lewis Thomas. At the end of the selection, students work in small groups to create a cluster map, identifying a sentence from the text that represents the essay’s main idea. Then students choose four to five details from the text that support the main idea. 

    • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students read “The Village Blacksmith,” a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. After reading, students conduct a debate addressing what the speaker meant when he said “the lesson thou hast taught.” Students respond to the following questions: “Is the speaker referring to a lesson in blacksmithing? Has the speaker recently learned a specific lesson about life from the blacksmith?” Guidance states that students must “Be ready to back up your position with evidence from the poem.”

  • Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation of text-based questions and tasks.

    • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students read “Names/Nombres,” a personal essay by Julia Alvarez. During the Close Read, the teacher reminds students “that an author may have more than one purpose in writing a piece,” noting that the students usually decide what they consider the author’s primary purpose. The teacher discusses purposes—to entertain, to explain, and to share—that Alvarez may have had in writing the text. Afterwards, students respond to the following Close Read question: “Compare the anecdotes about the two sisters’ names. What point do you think the author is making?” The Teacher Wrap includes the following answer: “Both anecdotes describe in a humorous way how non-Spanish-speaking people surprise the Alvarezes by embracing their Spanish names. The purpose of the anecdotes is both to explain and to entertain.” 

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, while reading “Mute Dancers: How to Watch a Hummingbird,” a scientific essay by Diane Ackerman, students “identify three examples of description the author uses to help readers visualize the appearance, attitude, and movement of hummingbirds.” The Teacher Wrap includes the following examples that the teacher can use as models: “darting and swiveling” , “glittery,” and “thuglike.” 

    • In Unit 6, Searching Beyond the Surface, students read “Once by the Pacific” by Robert Frost. In this lyric poem, students focus on symbolism. The Analyze Literature section of the Apply the Model page includes a definition for symbol and frames the focus on symbolism: “A symbol is a thing that represents itself and something else. As you read ‘Once by the Pacific,’ think about the various things being described. What might those things, including the setting, the characters, and their actions, represent?” The Teacher Wrap also includes a summary of the poem that describes symbolism represented in the text. Students respond to the question “What might the waves symbolize? Explain.” The Teacher Wrap includes the following response: “They could symbolize anger or confusion.” After reading the poem, students use a chart to analyze Frost’s use of symbolism to convey meaning in the poem. The Teacher Wrap includes the following guidance: “Students might mention the water, which could symbolize violence or impending destruction. They might also mention the shore or continent, which may represent humanity or stability.” 

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students read the Egyptian myth, “The Secret Name of Ra” retold by Geraldine Harris. During the Close Read, the Teacher Wrap directs teachers to note that asking why questions is “a good way of identifying cause-and-effect relationships,” because the “questions identify effects, and the answers state causes.” The teacher then models a question and answer before having students suggest other questions and answers. The Teacher Wrap includes an example that the teacher may use as a model: “Why can’t anything in creation harm Ra?” “Because his secret name protects him.”

Indicator 1g

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions.

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1g.

Materials provide frequent speaking and listening opportunities for students, with some opportunities for teacher modeling of academic vocabulary and syntax; however, materials lack evidence of speaking and listening protocols. The activities engage students in the entire year’s scope of instructional materials ,such as Speaking and Listening, within the extended learning activities of Collaborative Learning, Critical Literacy, Lifelong Learning and Media Literacy. Throughout the year, students engage in a wide variety of speaking and listening tasks, such as Critical Thinking Discussions during reading and Extend Understanding options after reading. Extend Understanding tasks are optional and include Collaborative Learning, Critical Literacy, Lifelong Learning, and Media Literacy opportunities in which students may engage in small group discussions, paired discussions, and debates that are assessed using provided rubrics. At the end of each unit, students may participate in a Speaking and Listening Workshop. Although these workshops include directions for each step of the speaking and listening task, as well as a rubric to assess Content, Delivery and Presentation, and listening skills, the workshops do not include protocols to support students’ developing speaking and listening skills.

Materials provide frequent opportunities for speaking and listening; however, speaking and listening opportunities do not include protocols. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Materials do not provide varied protocols to support students’ developing speaking and listening skills across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials.

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students read the short story, “After Twenty Years” by O. Henry.  After reading, students may participate in a Collaborative Learning or a Critical Literacy Extend Understanding task. During the Collaborative Learning option, students collaborate in small groups to investigate police work. During the Critical Literacy option, students “[w]ork with a partner to role-play a reporter interviewing the character ‘Silky’ Bob.” There is no evidence of a specific protocol used to support students’ developing speaking and listening skills during either task. 

    • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students read the lyric poem, “Unfolding Bud,” by Naoshi Koriyama, paired with the lyric poem, “How to Eat a Poem” by Eve Merriam. During the Critical Literacy Extend Understanding option, students hold a panel discussion “to discuss the effectiveness of these two poems’ use of metaphor.” There is no evidence of a specific protocol used to support students’ developing speaking and listening skills.

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students give and actively listen to persuasive presentations during the End-of-Unit Speaking & Listening Workshop. The Workshop includes directions to guide students through each step of the project: Planning a Narrative, Evaluating a Narrative Presentation, and Delivering a Narrative Presentation. Although materials include directions for students to complete this Workshop, there is no evidence of protocols for students to conduct the speaking and listening task and develop their speaking and listening skills.

  • Teacher guidance includes modeling of academic vocabulary and syntax during speaking and listening opportunities.

    • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students read an excerpt from Off the Court” by Arthur Ashe. During reading, the teacher notes “that all writing reflects its author’s perspective, or viewpoint” and that taking word choice into account can help students analyze this. The teacher models how to identify passages that reflect Ashe’s perspective: “In describing how he met Dr. Johnson, Ashe uses the first person, but chooses words that express only how he saw the event as a boy—at the time, he didn’t know why Johnson was there. This creates the sense that the adults in Ashe’s life made decisions that shaped his future.” The teacher then challenges students to identify other passages that reflect Ashe’s perspective.

    • In Unit 5, Expressing Yourself, students read the lyric poem, “Gold” by Pat Mora. The teacher models how to infer the main idea: “The image of golden sunlight evokes warmth and comfort, feelings I associate with home.” Students then respond to the following question: “What does the third stanza suggest about this poem’s main idea?”

Indicator 1h

Materials support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and evidence.

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1h.

Speaking and listening opportunities include teacher guidance for facilitating activities; however, materials do not include teacher guidance for monitoring student discussions. Occasionally, speaking and listening guidance includes possible questions the teacher may model for students; however, materials do not include instructional support, such as prompts or sentence starters, to serve as entry points for students who may have difficulty starting or engaging in conversations.

Materials include ample speaking and listening opportunities. Teaching Notes often require students to generate questions to ask the author. Students also engage in discussions as they perform close reads of texts and respond to Analyze Literature prompts. Where appropriate, texts also include Speaking & Listening Skills activities for students to complete during close reads; however, the Close Read section may not occur during core instruction, as it is listed as one of many options from which the teacher may choose to enact. At the launch of each lesson, materials frame the Mirrors & Windows question that students will discuss at the end of each text. Each text also includes opportunities for students to make text-to-self connections as they reflect on and discuss Make Connections questions. Paired selections include a Text to Text Connection prompt for students to discuss. At times, the Extend Understanding section includes speaking and listening task options; however, because implementing these activities is left to teacher choice, these activities may not occur during core instruction. While materials also include a Speaking & Listening Workshop at the end of each unit, these workshops are not part of core instruction.

Materials support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities); however, materials lack relevant follow-up questions and support. Because there is no core instructional path, students may not have access to all of the opportunities provided in the materials. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Speaking and listening instruction includes some facilitation, monitoring, and instructional support for teachers.

    • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students read “Amigo Brothers” by Piri Thomas. The teacher separates the class into six groups and breaks the fight scene of the text into six parts. The teacher assigns each group a section of the text and students prepare dramatic readings of the scene. The teacher has “students practice reading with emotion, varying volume and pace, emphasizing certain words and phrases, and using appropriate gestures and facial expressions.” After practicing, student groups present their scenes in order of appearance in the text. Materials do not include teacher guidance on monitoring student discussions or instructional support for students who may be having difficulty starting or engaging in conversations. Additionally, this Speaking & Listening Skills activity may not occur during core instruction, as it is a supplemental activity embedded within the Close Read portion of the materials. 

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, the teacher “set[s] up a round-robin process so that students can practice reading and responding to [‘Fire and Ice’ by Robert Frost] with several different classmates.” While working in pairs, one student reads the poem aloud and the other student comments on the poem’s meaning. Afterwards, students repeat this process, as one member from each pair moves to the group immediately to the right. Materials do not include teacher guidance on monitoring student discussions or instructional support for students who may be having difficulty starting or engaging in conversations. Additionally, this Speaking & Listening Skills activity may not occur during core instruction, as it is a supplemental activity embedded within the Close Read portion of the materials.

    • In Unit 6, Searching Beyond the Surface, as teachers Launch the Unit, they instruct small groups to experiment with concrete and abstract concepts by generating questions that relate to the unit theme. Teachers model concrete and abstract concepts by asking questions such as:  “What does the red rose mean as a symbol? and “What does it mean to have someone change your name for you?” Materials do not include teacher guidance on monitoring student discussions or instructional support for students who may be having difficulty starting or engaging in conversations.

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, while reading Act II of A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley by Israel Horovitz, students “work in pairs to improvise a conversation between two characters.”  The teacher encourages students to “be creative and think beyond the action of the play so that they are not simply reworking existing play dialogue.” The teacher provides students with four listening skills to apply during their improvisation work. Materials do not include teacher guidance on monitoring student discussions or instructional support for students who may be having difficulty starting or engaging in conversations. Additionally, this Speaking & Listening Skills activity may not occur during core instruction, as it is a supplemental activity embedded within the Close Read portion of the materials.

  • Students have multiple opportunities over the school year to demonstrate what they are reading through varied speaking and listening opportunities.

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students examine characterization during a close read of “The Inn of Lost Time” by Lensey Namioka. The teacher asks students to describe how Namioka conveys Zenta’s and Matsuzo’s character traits and models a possible response. 

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, students read a historical essay, “ The Face of the Deep is Frozen,” by Jennifer Armstrong. As students Close Read, teachers instruct students to Make Connections. Teachers “Invite students to think of a time when they were worried about something that might happen in nature, such as a bad storm that might knock out electric power or a rainstorm when they were camping.” Teachers ask students a series of questions, “How did they prepare themselves? How did the event turn out.?” before having them share their experiences in small groups.”

    • In Unit 6, Searching Beneath the Surface, students read  the lyric poem ,“Loo Wit,” by Wendy Rose.  After reading, students write a literary analysis of the author’s use of personification.  In pairs, they exchange their responses and discuss their reactions. 

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students read “The Secret Name of Ra,” an Egyptian myth retold by Geraldine Harris and explore the theme of trickery. After reading the text, students discuss their responses to the following Mirrors & Windows prompt: “Think of a time you tricked someone in order to get something you wanted very badly. How did you justify your actions to yourself or others? Is there ever a time when it is acceptable to trick others?”  

  • Speaking and listening work requires students to utilize, apply, and incorporate evidence from texts and/or sources.

    • In Unit 3, students read a paired selection containing an excerpt from the autobiography ``Off the Court'', and the editorial “A Black Athlete Looks at Education”, both by Arthur Ashe. During the Critical Literacy activity in the Extend Understanding section, students consider the racial and social barriers that many famous minority athletes have broken and research information on one or two male or female minority athletes using a set of self-generated questions they would like to ask the athlete(s). Students “[r]eport [their] findings in a question-and-answer format and post [their] work on the class bulletin board.”  The Extend Understanding section of the materials includes options from which the teacher selects; as a result, all students may not engage in this activity.

    • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students read “Father William” by Lewis Carroll. After reading, students work with a partner to “list examples of hyperbole” in the text. Students answer the questions: “What purpose does hyperbole serve in this poem? And How does hyperbole contribute to the tone?” Then, students share their list and answers with another group.

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students read a paired selection containing St.Crispin’s Day Speech, a dramatic monologue from the play Henry V by William Shakespeare, and “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” a narrative poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. During the Lifelong Learning Extend Understanding activity, students ``[u]use the library to research the plot, characters, and notable scenes from Henry V'' to learn more about the play and understand the context of St.Crispin’s Day Speech.” Students present their findings as an oral report. The Extend Understanding section of the materials includes options from which the teacher selects; as a result, all students may not engage in this activity.

Indicator 1i

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1i.

Materials include on-demand writing tasks during differentiated reading lessons, extension lessons, and writing skills. On-demand writing opportunities also occur in the Extend Understanding section at the end of each text or paired selection. The Extend Understanding section includes two writing options—a creative option and/or an informative, descriptive, or argumentative option. Although the Program Planning Guide includes lesson plans for each text, materials state that  the teacher must “[identify] the resources that are best suited to your particular situation.” The Lesson Plan directs teachers to “[c]hoose from the following materials” or “[c]hoose from the following resources.” As a result, there is no explicit core instructional path. Materials embed additional writing practice in the margins of the Teach the Model section of texts within each unit and there is also a wealth of ancillary materials, such as Writing and Grammar and Language Arts Handbook, to support core writing instruction. Materials utilize digital resources, such as an eBook and eReaders, where appropriate. 

Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing that covers a year’s worth of instruction; however, since there is no explicit core path, students may not have access to every opportunity provided in the materials. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Materials include on-demand writing opportunities that cover a year’s worth of instruction.

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students read the short story, “The Portrait,”  by Tomas Rivera. In the Extend Understanding section at the end of the text, students “[w]rite a news report for a local radio station about the incidents described in the story.” Directions for the prompt remind students to begin their news report with “an attention-grabbing first line” and “to answer the questions of who, what, where, when, why and how” during their report. Students present their work to the class. Although this writing opportunity occurs at the end of the text selection, the activity may not occur during core instruction, as it is one of four activities from which the teacher may choose.  

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, students participate in an on-demand timed writing assessment in the Test Practice Workshop at the end of the unit. Students write a descriptive essay using descriptive and sensory language, as well as analogies describing the negative effects humans have on nature. The Assess section of the Lesson Plan does not list the Test Practice Workshop as an option for this text; as a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students read “A Defenseless Creature” by Neil Simon. While reading, students create a chart and record the key details of the story. After reading, students use their chart to write a summary of the text

  • Materials include process writing opportunities that cover a year’s worth of instruction. Opportunities for students to revise and edit are provided.

    • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students complete a narrative writing workshop to compose a short story. Students follow the five-step writing process which includes prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading their short stories to publish and present their work. Students may exchange their work with peers or they may use the provided Revising Checklist as a guide when evaluating the dialogue and point of view in their short story. Students continue this focus, as they edit their work to ensure they have maintained a consistent point of view and punctuated dialogue correctly. Once students proofread their work for mechanical errors, they present and publish a final draft of their short story to the class. 

    • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students complete a Writing Workshop where they write a cause-and-effect essay. Students transition through each step of the writing process. During Steps three and four, students revise and edit their essay. Students review their own writing, identifying strengths and weaknesses, before exchanging papers with a peer to discuss ways to improve their work. Students then edit their work, focusing on avoiding wordiness and checking their usage of commonly confused words, such as “their, there, they’re, and excepted and accepted.” Students find and fix punctuation, grammar, capitalization, and spelling errors before publishing and presenting their final draft. 

    • In Unit 6, Searching Beneath the Surface, students write a personal narrative during the Writing Workshop at the end of the unit. After choosing a topic and gathering details, students determine their purpose for writing. During the Draft phase, students select an organizational pattern for their narrative, focus on writing good first lines to grab readers’ attention, and add details, examples, or transitions to improve their writing. Students use a Revising Checklist to self-evaluate their work and also exchange their draft with a peer for feedback. During the Edit and Proofread stage, students focus on figurative language, apostrophe usage, and quality control. Students publish and present their final draft to the class. 

  • Materials include digital resources where appropriate. 

    • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students have the option to use an eBook as they read through the texts. Within the eBook is an option to complete on-demand writing responses within the eWorkbooks. 

    • In Unit 6, Encountering Nature, students read “in Just,” a lyric poem by  E.E.Cummings. Students engage in digital resources within the passport tools found in the audio and media libraries in the Multiplatform Student ebook. Students use a  digital interactive graphic organizer during reading to monitor comprehension.

Indicator 1j

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1j.

Materials provide some opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply different writing modes during on-demand, and longer process writing tasks across the school year. End-of-Unit Writing Workshops are the sole source of explicit argumentative, informative, and narrative writing instruction and process writing tasks. Materials include writing practice opportunities during the embedded Writing Skills lessons found within each unit; however, these lessons are a part of the Close Read lesson, one of the activities from which teachers may select. As a result, these lessons may not occur during core instruction. Materials include some on-demand writing opportunities during select after-reading Analyze Literature and Extend Understanding tasks; however, there are four Extend Understanding tasks from which the teacher may choose. As a result, writing tasks may not occur during core instruction. Although Test Practice Workshops also serve as on-demand writing opportunities, these Workshops are not a part of core instruction.

Materials provide some opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:  

  • Materials provide some opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes/types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. 

    • Materials include the following Writing Workshops— four informative, one argumentative, one descriptive, two narrative—resulting in an uneven distribution of explicit instruction on the writing modes required by the standards.

      • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students learn how to respond to a short story during the End-of-Unit informative Writing Workshop. Explicit instruction supports students by ensuring their essays include a “compelling introduction,” a “clear organization pattern,” “textual evidence” that supports the main ideas, “varied sentences,” and a “conclusion that sums up” the response. Materials provide three more opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply informative writing—when crafting a cause-and-effect essay during the Unit 3 Writing Workshop, when writing a compare-and-contrast essay during the Unit 5 Writing Workshop, and when writing a research report during the Unit 8 Writing Workshop. 

      • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students learn how to write a short story during the narrative Writing Workshop at the end of the unit. During the Prewrite stage, students choose their topic using the who, when, where, what, and how method and “concentrate on the details of the characters, setting, and plot.” Students use chronological order to organize their narratives and pay close attention to the tone of their writing. When evaluating their drafts, students use a Revising Checklist, examining elements such as well-developed characters, a descriptive setting, a logically organized story, natural and effective dialogue, and a consistent point of view. As students transition to the Edit and Proofread stage, they focus on maintaining a consistent point of view and punctuating dialogue. Students submit a clean version of their final draft during the Publish and Present stage. Materials provide one more opportunity for students to learn, practice, and apply narrative writing—when composing a personal narrative during the Unit 6 Writing Workshop. 

      • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students learn how to write an argumentative essay during the End-of-Unit argumentative Writing Workshop. Explicit instruction includes “[reinforcing] the point that gathering information will help students anticipate counterarguments,” as the teacher supports students with choosing their topic and determining their thesis statement. Students learn about three types of organizational patterns, as well as how to address counterarguments. Students use a provided Revising Checklist to evaluate their drafts, ensuring their work has an introduction that captures the reader’s attention, a thesis that presents their argument, a clear organizational pattern, and evidence to support their thesis. Students focus on parallel structure and comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs as they edit and proofread their work. Students submit their final draft to the teacher. Although materials do not provide any other opportunities for students to learn and apply argumentative writing, students do have opportunities to practice argumentative writing during optional activities, such as on-demand Extend Understanding writing tasks and End-of-Unit Test Practice Workshops.   

  • Different genres/modes/types of writing are distributed throughout the school year; however, there is no core instructional path. Writing opportunities may not occur during core instruction. 

    • Students have opportunities to engage in argumentative writing. 

      • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students read “A Day’s Wait,” a short story by Ernest Hemingway. Afterwards, students may “[w]rite an editorial for your local newspaper stating why all schools and industries in the United States should use metric measurements instead of the measurement system currently used in the United States.” This Extend Understanding task is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

      • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, after reading an entry from The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley, students write a one- or two-paragraph book review about the text, citing the text’s purpose, naming its strengths and weaknesses, and stating whether or not the bookstore should carry it. This Extend Understanding task is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction. 

      • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, after reading Act 1 of A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley, a drama by Israel Horovitz, students write a review of the act in which they “[provide] a brief summary of the story and characters,” use evidence from the play to “evaluate the setting, characterization, mood, dialogue, and stage directions,” and give their opinion of the play, “telling why you think the drama club should or should not put on this play for the school.”  This Extend Understanding task is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction. 

  • Students have opportunities to engage in informative/explanatory writing. 

    • In Unit 2, Learning Values, after reading “The Scholarship Jacket,” a short story by Marta Salinas, students create a theme map, and materials state to use this map  “to draft an informative paragraph in which you explain the story’s theme.” Students use textual evidence to support their explanation. This Extend Understanding task is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction..

    • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students read two poems, “Song” by Robert Browning, and “The Gardener” (LXXXV) by Rabindranath Tagore, and write an informative essay during the Test Practice Workshop. The assignment directions are as follows: “Write an informative essay in which you compare and contrast the poems. Use transitions that signal the organization of your essay. Include evidence from the poems to support your thesis.” This timed writing task is optional and may not occur during core instruction. 

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students read a paired selection containing St. Crispin's Day Speech, a dramatic monologue by William Shakespeare, and “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” a narrative poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Afterwards, students use examples from both texts to write an informative paragraph in which they compare and contrast the speakers of both texts, “[discussing] similarities and differences in the speakers’ tone and purposes.” This Extend Understanding task is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result,may not occur during core instruction.

  •  Students have opportunities to engage in narrative writing. 

    • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students read “Hollywood and the Pits,” a short story by Cherylene Lee. After reading, students imagine they are creating a time capsule and think about the objects they would include. Students then are asked to “[w]rite a journal entry in which you describe these things and your reasons for including them.” This Extend Understanding task is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, after reading “Blackberry Eating,” a lyric poem by Galway Kinnell, students are asked to  “think of a pleasurable experience you have had in nature” and “create a list of all of the most important details from this experience.” Students are directed to use this list to “write a narrative essay that describes your experience.” This Extend Understanding task is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students read “Persephone and Demeter,” a Greek myth retold by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire. Afterwards, students imagine that they are a storyteller and “[w]rite a retelling of the myth using modern characterizations, language, and imagery.” Students also “[a]dd dialogue to develop the characters” and recite their completed myth to the class. This Extend Understanding task is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

  • Where appropriate, writing opportunities are connected to texts and/or text sets (either as prompts, models, anchors, or supports).

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students read the short story, “The Inn of Lost Time,” by Lensey Namioka. To practice using sensory details, students “write a letter of complaint to the hotel’s management describing the bad experience and requesting a refund.” Students must use “sensory details to make the description vivid and realistic.” This Extend Understanding task is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students read the Greek myth, “Persephone and Demeter,” retold by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire. Students take on the role of Demeter and “write a short persuasive speech to deliver to Zeus.” Students must begin their argument with a statement of position and include “three or more reasons supporting that position.” This Extend Understanding task is one of four options from which the teacher may choose and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

Indicator 1k

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1k. 

Materials provide practice and application opportunities for evidence-based writing but lack explicit evidence-based writing instruction with the exception of some Writing Workshop tasks. The Making Meaning, Analyze Literature, and After Reading sections provide students with some opportunities to carefully analyze closely read texts. Materials include End-of-Unit Writing Workshops and Test Practice pieces that sometimes require students to support their analyses and defend their claims, but these opportunities do not occur consistently. Throughout daily material, students do not engage in evidence-based writing. Students work on activities such as sensory descriptions or continuity in point-of-view, but these exercises do not require students to cite evidence from texts they read nor are they required core instructional activities. Students may complete a timed writing task, during which they read a short selection and then write in response to a prompt that requires them to utilize evidence from the text. While materials provide opportunities such as timed writing tasks and Test Practice Workshops, these are not required activities within the curriculum as noted in the Program Planning Guide: “To help you meet the diverse needs of your students, the Mirrors & Windows program offers a wealth of materials-much more than you can teach in one school year. As a result, one challenge you will face is identifying the resources that are best suited to your particular situation.” The Lesson Plan directs teachers to “[c]hoose from the following materials” or “[c]hoose from the following resources.” As a result, there is no explicit core instructional path.

Materials include opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information; however, since there is no core instructional path, students may not have access to all of the opportunities provided in the materials. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Materials provide limited opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence.

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, during the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop, students learn how to write a response to literature. As students respond to a short story, they gather details using a cluster chart, decide their thesis by asking themselves questions, and emphasize their strongest points by organizing them by order of importance. Teacher guidance lists cause and effect, chronological, and compare and contrast as other organizational options for student consideration; however, materials do not provide explicit instruction on how to use these options during the writing task.  

    • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students work on determining the author’s perspective during the Reading Skills section of Gary Soto’s short story ,“Seventh Grade.” Materials do not include explicit instruction on this skill and the lesson plan lists the Close Read portion of the lesson as a resource from which teachers may select during reading. The teacher points out that students “can use what characters say, do, and think in a story to figure out the author’s perspective, or viewpoint, on different subjects.” Guidance encourages students to create a column for each of the four main characters so students can record “(1) What he/she says, (2) what he/she does, and (3) what he/she thinks.” Students use the notes from their charts to “infer Soto’s perspective on subjects such as school, adolescence, friendship, and boy-girl relationships.”  

    • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students learn how to write a cause-and-effect essay during the end-of-unit Writing Workshop. During the Prewrite stage, students gather “details, facts, and examples that will illustrate [their] cause-and-effect relationship” after narrowing down their topic of interest. Materials include a model cause-and-effect chart to support students’ work. During the Draft phase, students learn various ways to organize their essays and create a plan for drafting their essay using their cause-and-effect chart. As students revise their work, materials include a review activity on facts, details, and examples. Students use a Revising Checklist to evaluate whether the relationship between causes and effects is explained and supported. While this Workshop includes practice, it does not include explicit instruction on standards-aligned, evidence-based writing. 

    • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, during the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop, students learn how to write a compare and contrast essay, during which they compare two things from nature after reading two translations of “haiku'' by Matsuo Bash-o, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa. During the Prewrite stage, students learn how to choose their topic. Guidance focuses on choosing “two subjects that are similar enough to make a fair comparison” while also being mindful to “choose subjects that are different enough to make an interesting comparison.” Materials use the analogies ``Apples and oranges'' and “Peas in a pod?” to illustrate how students should choose their topic. The Strategy section of this writing task requires students to “[p]resent evidence for this point by organizing details about my two subjects that clearly show how they are alike and different.” While this Workshop includes practice, it does not include explicit instruction on standards-aligned, evidence-based writing.

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students complete a practice activity on summarizing during the Writing Skills section of “A Defenseless Creature” by Neil Simon, based on a story by Anton Chekhov. Materials do not include explicit instruction on writing summaries and the lesson plan lists the Close Read portion of the lesson as a resource from which teachers may select during reading. The teacher points out traits of good summaries, such as how a good summary “tells the main ideas and events of a story in much shorter form than the original and in different words” and “does not contain minor details or ideas that are unrelated to the outcome of the plot.” Students then create an outline or fill out a chart to track key events of the text as they read. Materials include a model chart. Students use their notes to write a summary. 

  • Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with texts and sources to provide supporting evidence.

    • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students read “Writings by Queen Elizabeth I” from Queen Elizabeth’s speech to her last Parliament . In the Analyze Literature: Biography section, students determine “the biographer’s overall opinion of Elizabeth. Do you think he admires her? What evidence from the story supports your answer?” Students then create a web and record words and phrases that indicate whether or not Meltzer admires Elizabeth. Students also create a separate list to record facts from the text that contradict the biographer’s opinion. 

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students read a paired selection, the dramatic monologue, St. Crispin's Day Speech, by William Shakespeare and the narrative poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Students write an informative paragraph comparing and contrasting the speakers of the two texts. Students must provide evidence from the text to support their responses. Students continue to apply this evidence-based writing skill during the end-of-unit Writing Workshop, during which students write an argumentative essay that requires the use of “evidence, such as reasons, facts, and examples.” 

Indicator 1l

Materials include explicit instruction of the grade-level grammar and usage standards, with opportunities for application in context.

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1l.

Materials include limited explicit instruction of grade-level grammar and usage. Materials miss opportunities to address many standards or address standards that are included in a subsequent grade level. There are limited opportunities for students to apply grammar and usage standards in context, such as student writing. Practice opportunities are oftentimes absent in the grade under review, but are sometimes provided in subsequent grades.

Materials include limited explicit instruction of the grade-level grammar and usage standards, with opportunities for authentic application in context. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Students have opportunities to explain the function of phrases and clauses in general and their function in specific sentences.

    • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students receive instruction on independent and dependent clauses during a Grammar & Style lesson. Students also learn how to identify adverbial and adjectival clauses. Students practice sentences identifying independent and dependent clauses. Although students receive explicit instruction, there is not an opportunity for application of the skill in context. Grammar & Style lessons are listed as an option from which teachers select in the Teach the Workshop(s) section of the Lesson Plan. As a result, this lesson may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students read an excerpt from the memoir, An American Childhood by Annie Dillard. Students receive explicit instruction on prepositional and participial phrases. Students practice the skill by identifying the phrase in sentences within the text and describing the type of phrase. Students apply this skill during the Writing Workshop, as they use signal words and phrases, including some prepositional words and phrases, while writing a cause-and-effect essay. 

  • Students have opportunities to choose among simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences to signal differing relationships among ideas.

    • In Unit 6, Searching Beneath the Surface, during the Grammar & Style lesson, students receive instruction on simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences. After learning the definitions of each, students edit a set of sentences by rewriting each sentence, adding an independent or dependent clause, and classifying the sentence by type. Although students receive explicit instruction, there is not an opportunity for application of the skill in context. Grammar & Style lessons are listed as an option from which teachers select in the Teach the Workshop(s) section of the Lesson Plan. As a result, this lesson may not occur during core instruction.

  • Students have opportunities to place phrases and clauses within a sentence, recognizing and correcting misplaced and dangling modifiers. 

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students read the drama, A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley, by Israel Horovitz. Students receive explicit instruction on misplaced modifiers during a mini-lesson. Students practice the skill by identifying and correcting misplaced modifiers in sentences. 

  • Students have opportunities to use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives (e.g, It was a fascinating, enjoyable movie but not He wore an old [,] green shirt). 

    • No evidence found

  • Students have opportunities to spell correctly. 

    • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students compose a compare-and-contrast essay during the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop. In the Edit and Proofread stage, students “correct errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.” 

  • Students have opportunities to choose language that expresses ideas precisely and concisely, recognizing and eliminating wordiness and redundancy. 

    • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students craft a cause-and-effect essay during the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop. During the Revise stage, students read a paragraph of their essay aloud while their partner offers feedback on wordy and repetitive sentence structures. Afterwards, students revise their sentences to make them more concise. 

Indicator 1m

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 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1m.

Although the Teacher Edition outlines the program’s vocabulary components, neither the Teacher Edition nor the Program Guide outline the program’s plan for vocabulary development or provide teacher guidance to support students’ vocabulary development. At the start of each unit, materials include a Building Vocabulary list, which contains the following categories of vocabulary terms: Preview Vocabulary, Selection Words, Academic Vocabulary, and Key Terms. Words listed as Preview Vocabulary are taken from sentences within selections and are defined in the side margin or at the bottom of the pages where they appear. Words listed as Selection Words are additional words from the reading that may be challenging, but are not central to the selection. These are Tier One words that can easily be understood by using context clues. Words listed as Academic Vocabulary are words that are used in the directions about the lessons. These are Tier Two words that explain what students should focus on, help establish context, clarify meaning of literary terms, and define goals or instructional purpose. Words that are listed as Key Terms are domain-specific Tier Three words. The repetition of these words throughout the program helps to ensure student mastery. While vocabulary words repeat in contexts and across texts, materials miss opportunities to build students’ vocabulary development of Tier One and Tier Two words.

Materials include a cohesive year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Materials include opportunities for students to interact with key academic vocabulary words in and across texts; however, the year-long vocabulary plan lacks cohesion.

    • The Teacher Edition outlines the Integrated Literacy and Language Resources provided: “Vocabulary & Spelling: Comprehensive developmental Vocabulary and Spelling lessons build word study skills. In-depth instruction is modeled using words from the selections in each unit.” The Teacher Edition also includes specific explanations of the Vocabulary & Spelling Workshop: “Word Knowledge: Concise vocabulary and spelling lessons are integrated with two of the literature selections in each unit. The lessons incorporate vocabulary words from the preceding selection. Each lesson contains instruction, followed by practice exercises.” While materials provide explanations of the program’s vocabulary development component, materials do not include teacher guidance for enacting students’ vocabulary development.  

  • Vocabulary is repeated in contexts (before texts, in texts) and across multiple texts; however, it is unclear how materials build students’ vocabulary development of Tier One and Tier Two words during core instruction.

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students read the short story ,“The 11:59,” by Patricia McKissack. It is paired with the essay, “A Long Hard Journey: The Story of the Pullman Porter,'' by Patricia and Fredrick McKissack. The Narrative Writing rubric for the two post-reading Writing Options includes the Tier II word anecdote: “Does the paragraph contain an example of anecdote?” In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students read “The Night the Bed Fell” by James Thurbur. The word anecdote occurs during a Writing Skills task: “Ask students to keep a journal for a week in which they record personal anecdotes…. At the end of the week, have them choose one anecdote and flesh it out into a brief personal essay.” Materials do not identify or define anecdote in either occurrence. 

    • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students read the personal essay, “Names/Nombres,” by Julia Alvarez. Materials use the Tier III vocabulary word pronoun in the Analyze Literature section of the text overview page: “Personal essays are written from the first-person point of view, using pronouns such as I and we.”  In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, a Grammar and Style Workshop uses the word pronoun when addressing infinitives: “Don’t confuse infinitives with prepositional phrases beginning with to. In a prepositional phrase, to is followed by a noun, pronoun, or article rather than a verb.” . 

  • Attention is paid to vocabulary essential to understanding the text and to high-value academic words (e.g., words that might appear in other contexts/content areas).

    • At the start of each unit, materials contain a Building Vocabulary page: “The lists below identify the Words in use, Academic Vocabulary, and Key Terms within this unit. These words are listed at the bottom of the Teacher’s Edition pages at the beginning of each lesson. Vocabulary development activities are provided in the Unit Selection Resources unit book and in the Vocabulary & Spelling resource.” Materials do not include teacher guidance on how to use the Building Vocabulary words to build students’ vocabulary development. Words from the Building Vocabulary list are not consistently addressed in the embedded Vocabulary & Spelling Workshop.

    • The Building Vocabulary page contains the following word categories: 

      • Preview Vocabulary: “words taken from the sentences within each selection. These words are defined in the side margin or at the bottom of the pages on which they appear. The ‘Preview Vocabulary’ section introduces these words in the Before Reading page preceding each selection (Tier One Words).”

      • Selection Words: “additional words from the reading that may be challenging, but are not central to the selection and are not identified in the pre reading section. These words can easily be learned using the story context, and they provide excellent practice for using content clues to find meaning without explicit instruction (Tier One Words).” 

      • Academic Vocabulary: “words that are used in the directions about the lessons. Academic vocabulary words explain to students what to focus on within the selection, help establish the story context, clarify the meaning of literary terms, and define the goals or instructional purpose (Tier Two Words).”

      • Key Terms: “commonly referred to as domain-specific words. These terms appear in the instructional material to teach the terminology that students need to acquire to understand literature. The repetition of the terms throughout the program ensures student mastery and provides a solid foundation for the continuing study of literature and language arts (Tier Three Words).” 

  • Materials provide limited support for students to accelerate vocabulary learning with vocabulary in their reading, speaking, and writing tasks.

    • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students use context clues to determine the meaning of vocabulary while reading “The Smallest Dragonboy” by Anne McCaffrey. Before the story, students learn the description of a dragonrider. Then, students “determine the meaning of dragonboy” by utilizing the initial definition. Students “use descriptions and examples to figure out the meaning of…” words such as impress/impression, backwinging, and glows.

    • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students read “The Village Blacksmith” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. During a Writing Skills activity, students define the word alliteration and identify the word in the poem. Students then make up their own sentences using alliteration and share them aloud to the class.

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students learn about denotation and connotation while reading “Tsali of the Cherokees” by Alice Lee Marriott. The teacher models examples of denotation and connotation and explains that “authors may use connotations to convey a character’s attitude, to suggest motivations, and to influence the reader’s thinking.” The teacher asks students why the author chose a specific word and “How do the connotations affect your perceptions of the missionary and his motivations?”

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. Although texts are organized by genre and theme, it is unclear how the texts build students’ knowledge of the theme. While students closely read and analyze literary and informational texts, lessons do not always include a coherently sequenced series of high-quality questions that lead to a final task. The majority of tasks are optional. Culminating tasks do not always fully address the associated standard, and these tasks often do not integrate literacy skills. Materials include limited writing instruction that aligns to the standards for the grade level. While instructional materials include a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development, materials lack teacher guidance on the use of ancillary and optional writing supports. While materials provide frequent opportunities for short research tasks connected to the texts students read, materials do not include a progression of research skills according to grade-level standards. Instruction, practice, and assessments are based on teacher selection from a list of options. Some questions and tasks align to grade-level standards while others do not align or do not meet the full intent of the standards. It is unclear if the majority of assessment items align to grade-level standards. There is no guarantee that materials repeatedly address grade-level standards within and across units to ensure students master the full intent of the standards. Although the Visual Planning Guide for each unit includes suggested pacing for each text, there is no suggested timeline for the pacing of units nor for the curriculum as a whole over the course of the year. The amount of material cannot reasonably be completed within the suggested amount of time and is not viable for a school year. Due to limited teacher guidance on selecting activities, the volume of optional tasks distracts from core learning. Some optional tasks are meaningful and enhance core instruction.

Criterion 2a - 2f

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

12/24
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for building knowledge. Texts are organized by genre, theme, and an essential question; however, it is unclear how the texts build students’ knowledge of the theme and answer the essential question, as these items are not revisited during the unit. Close reading lessons do not always include a coherently sequenced series of high-quality questions that lead to a final task, and the majority of tasks are optional. Culminating tasks do not always fully address the associated standard and often do not integrate literacy skills. While instructional materials include a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development, materials lack teacher guidance on the use of ancillary and optional writing supports. While materials provide frequent opportunities for short research tasks connected to the texts students read, materials do not include a progression of research skills according to grade-level standards.

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a cohesive topic(s)/theme(s) to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2a.

Materials include texts that are organized by a genre and a theme. Although texts are organized by genre and theme, it is unclear how the texts build students’ knowledge of the theme. Each unit begins with a unit opener that “introduces the genre and connects students to the literature,” includes a “thought-provoking quote [that] gives insight into literature,” features “fine art and photographs [that] connect with the unit theme,” and introduces “essential questions related to the unit theme [that] generate interest and set the stage for learning.” The opening pages of each unit provide an introduction to the unit’s genre of focus. Most text selections also include a Mirrors & Windows theme. Students make text-to-self connections to this sub-theme when responding to Mirrors & Windows questions at the start and conclusion of texts read. It is unclear how the Mirrors & Windows theme connects to the unit theme and builds students’ knowledge.

Texts are not organized around a cohesive topic/theme to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Texts are connected by a grade-appropriate cohesive topic/theme/line of inquiry. Texts miss opportunities to build knowledge, vocabulary, and the ability to read and comprehend complex texts across a school year.

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students explore the fiction genre and the theme, “Meeting the Unexpected” as they seek answers to the following essential question: “What can we learn from unexpected experiences?” As students read the unit texts, framing suggests they “imagine how [they] might feel if confronted with the unusual, unexplainable, or surprising events that [the short stories] describe.” The short story, “A Day’s Wait,” by Ernest Hemingway, serves as the anchor text for this unit. Students also explore other literary selections such as “The 11:59” by Patricia McKissacky, “The Portrait” by Tomás Rivera, “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling, and “Uncle Tony’s Goat” by Leslie Marmon Silko. Where appropriate, materials pair literary selections with informational texts, such as “Mars Climate Orbiter Team Finds Likely Cause of Loss” by  National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) and “The Aqualung” by David Macaulay, to “add relevance to the literature selections by providing students with background information and context, and by helping them see relationships between literature, informational texts, and primary source materials.” Materials do not revisit the unit theme or essential question during the Introduction to the unit genre, embedded Close Reading questions, and Extend Understanding tasks. As a result, it is unclear how students build knowledge of the theme.

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, while exploring the theme, “Responding to Nature,” students continue their nonfiction genre study from the previous unit. While reading and exploring the unit texts and visuals, students seek to answer the essential question, “How can words describe the awe of nature?”, and “examine how authors and artists present their information.” The anchor text for this unit is the essay, “Ships in the Desert” by Al Gore. Students also explore informational selections such as an entry from The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley, “I Am a Native of North America” by Chief Dan George, “Mute Dancers: How to Watch a Hummingbird” by Diane Ackerman, “The Face of the Deep is Frozen” by Jennifer Armstrong, “Hmong Storycloth” by Mee Vang, and “”Death in the Open” by Lewis Thomas. Materials do not revisit the unit theme or essential question during the Introduction to the unit genre, embedded Close Reading questions, and Extend Understanding tasks. As a result, it is unclear how students build knowledge of the theme.

    • In Unit 6, Searching Beneath the Surface, students continue their focus on poetry from the previous unit. Students explore the theme, “Searching Beneath the Surface” and the essential question, “How can language express deeper meaning?” While reading the various unit text selections, students “use [their] skills to find the meanings that lie just beneath the surface.” The lyric poem, “Name Giveaway” by Phil George, serves as the anchor text for this unit. Students also read other poems such as “Once by the Pacific” by Robert Frost, “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Lost Parrot” by Naomi Shihab Nye, and “I’m Nobody” by Emily Dickinson. Materials do not revisit the unit theme or essential question during the Introduction to the unit genre, embedded Close Reading questions, and Extend Understanding tasks. As a result, it is unclear how students build knowledge of the theme.

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students delve into the drama genre as they investigate the theme, “Facing Challenges'' and the essential question, “What have you learned by facing a challenge?” Throughout the unit readings, students ``consider how the characters face and resolve conflicts” and think about how they can relate the characters’ struggles to their own lives. The anchor text for this unit is the drama A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley by Israel Horowitz. Students also read other drama selections, such as, A Defenseless Creature by Neil Simon, Let Me Hear You Whisper by Paul Zindel,St. Crispin's Day Speech by William Shakespeare, and The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street by Rod Serling. Materials do not revisit the unit theme or essential question during the Introduction to the unit genre, embedded Close Reading questions, and Extend Understanding tasks. As a result, it is unclear how students build knowledge of the theme.

Indicator 2b

Materials require students to analyze the key ideas, details, craft, and structure within individual texts as well as across multiple texts using coherently sequenced, high quality questions and tasks.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2b.

Materials support and require students to analyze key ideas, details, craft and structure within individual texts as well as across multiple texts; however, lessons do not always include a coherently sequenced series of high-quality questions that lead to a final task. Questions and tasks are often embedded in the following before-, during-, and after-reading sections: Setting Purpose, Reading Skills, Finding Meaning, Making Judgments, and Making Connections. Tasks often occur in the optional Extend Understanding. As a result, these tasks may not occur during core instruction and there is no guarantee all students will have an opportunity to engage with these questions. Tasks sometimes miss opportunities to meet the full requirements of their associated standard.

Materials sometimes require students to analyze the key ideas, details, craft, and structure within individual texts as well as across multiple texts using coherently sequenced, high-quality questions and tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • For most texts, students analyze key ideas and details and craft and structure (according to grade-level standards). 

    • The materials contain coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address key ideas and details. 

      • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students focus on theme while reading “The Scholarship Jacket” by Marta Salinas. Students respond to questions pertaining to theme while reading the text. Questions include: “Why won’t the narrator get a school jacket for sports?”, “What does Mr. Schmidt refuse to do?”, and “How does the narrator know what the principal wants?” After reading, during one of the Extend Understanding Writing Options, students imagine they have to read Salinas’ short story to a class of fifth graders. Students are directed to use the theme map from a previous Analyze Literature prompt to write “an informative paragraph in which you explain the story’s theme,” using evidence from the text to support their explanation. The Extend Understanding section contains four optional activities from which teachers may choose. As a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction.

      • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students discuss the etymology of the term folk tale while reading “Eshu,” a Yoruban folk tale retold by Judith Gleason. The after-reading Analyze Literature task notes how folk tales “often depict everyday activities and the adventures of common people.” To depict what they have learned about the Yoruban culture, students ``[c]reate a list of details from the folktale that help paint a picture of Yoruban culture. Then write a sentence that summarizes what you know.” Although these tasks address the folktale genre, the tasks do not require students to analyze how particular elements of the text interact.  

    • The materials sometimes contain coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address craft and structure.

      • In Unit 2, Learning Values, students respond to Analyze Literature questions focused on point of view as they read “Hollywood and the Pits' ' by Cherylene Lee. Questions include: “Is the narrator part of the action?”, “What else can you tell about the narrator so far?”, and “How is [the italicized text’s] tone different from that of the regular text?” Students also “describe how the narrator’s tone changes when she makes the comment about growing too tall” and discuss “what else the narrator may be telling the reader when she says that she wondered a lot about how the animals feel into the trap.” After reading, students make a graphic organizer to “summarize how Cherylene Lee’s use of both first-person and third-person points of view affects the mood and plot of ‘Hollywood and the Pits.’” 

      • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students read the lyric poem,“Feel Like a Bird” by May Swenson. During the Close Read section, notes in the teacher wrap point out the free verse structure of the poem, as well as Swenson’s use of rhymed words. Students identify all of the rhyming pairs in the poem. While other questions address the use of metaphors and similes within the text, there are no questions or tasks that address the poem’s form or structure and how those elements contribute to meaning.   

  • By the end of the year, at times, these components (language, word choice, key ideas, details, structure, craft) are embedded in students’ work rather than taught directly. 

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, after reading Act I of the drama, A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley by Israel Horovitz, students find and read the first chapter of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in the Critical Literacy Extend Understanding task. Dickens’ text is not included in the materials. Students compare the texts, noting “how each writer reveals characters and conflicts through description, narration, and dialogue.” While students compare two adaptations of a text, they do not compare a written text to its audio, filmed, staged, or multimedia version and analyze the effects of techniques that are unique to each medium. The Extend Understanding section contains four optional activities from which teachers may choose. As a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction. 

Indicator 2c

Materials require students to analyze the integration of knowledge within individual texts as well as across multiple texts using coherently sequenced, high quality text-specific and/or text-dependent questions and tasks.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2c.

Materials include text-specific and text-dependent questions and tasks that address key ideas and details, as well as craft and structure, within informational texts. While materials embed the integration of knowledge and ideas in students’ work, tasks often occur during the Extend Understanding section which contains four activity options from which the teacher may choose. As a result, there is no guarantee that all students will complete these tasks during core instruction. Materials include opportunities for students to develop ideas and analyze both within single texts and across multiple texts. Students respond to text-specific and text-dependent questions during and after reading. However, series of questions are not always coherently sequenced, leading to the culminating task, and culminating tasks do not always fully address the associated standard.

Materials require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within individual texts as well as across multiple texts; however, there are missed opportunities for coherently sequenced, high-quality text-specific and/or text-dependent questions and tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Most sets of questions and tasks support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas.

    • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students read “The Eternal Frontier” by Louis L’Amour. Students develop a main idea map and work in small groups to share and adjust their maps based on the discussion. Students identify the author’s main point of a paragraph within the text. While students identify two central ideas of the text, they do not analyze the development of the central ideas over the course of the text nor do they provide an objective summary of the text. 

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, in the Before Reading section of “The Size of Things'' by Robert Jastrow, the Analyze Literature section explains that the text “is a scientific essay, a type of informational text.” As students read the essay to discover the information Jastrow presents, they respond to questions, such as “For whom do you think the author is writing this essay?”, “What was Rutherford trying to express with this comparison?”, and “How does Jastrow help the reader visualize our galaxy?” After reading another selection, students ``[a]nalyze Jastrow’s essay with a K-W-L chart” and summarize their learning in a single sentence. During a separate activity, students ``write a full summary of the essay and exchange [their] summary with a classmate” and evaluate their work “based on the accuracy of the main ideas, supporting details, and the overall meaning of the essay.” Although students analyze the structure of the text, they do not analyze “how the major sections contribute to the whole and the development of the ideas.”    

  • By the end of the year, integrating knowledge and ideas is embedded in students’ work (via tasks and/or culminating tasks).

    • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students focus on distinguishing fact from opinion as they read “Elizabeth I,” a biography by Milton Meltzer. Students ``[c]reate a chart to record facts and opinions'' and respond to the following Close Read question about a portion of the text: “Why is this paragraph’s first sentence a statement of fact?” Materials also include a Reading Skills: Distinguish Fact from Opinion mini-lesson, during which students ``find examples of language in the text that suggests Meltzer’s bias” and “interpret the statements.” During the Collaborative Learning Extend Understanding option, students work in groups to “identify and read the text of a contemporary policy speech, [interpreting] the speaker’s purpose by asking questions or making comments about the evidence presented. Students also “analyze the structure of the speech’s central argument and identify the different types of evidence used to support the argument,” before presenting their findings to the class. It is unclear when students learned about types of evidence. While students ask questions and comment on the evidence presented, students do not assess “whether the reasoning is sound'' and whether “the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.” The Extend Understanding section contains four optional activities from which teachers may choose. As a result, this activity may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, students read “Ships in the Desert,” an essay by Al Gore, and “I Am a Native of North America,” a personal essay by Chief Dan George. While reading Gore’s piece, students primarily focus on analyzing main ideas and details, performing small tasks, such as stating the main idea and one or two details that illustrate the main idea, outlining two paragraphs “by identifying the topic sentence of each paragraph and listing the supporting details,” and explaining how a reference Gore used supports his main idea. While reading George’s piece, students point out elements of description, “use a Venn diagram to compare the main ideas Gore and Chief Dan George convey about the environment,” locate repeated phrases, work in small groups to summarize the main idea expressed about one of four topics, and analyze the author’s perspective. Students respond to the following Text to Text Connection question: “What different details does Al Gore’s essay and Chief Dan George’s personal essay use to illustrate the causes and effects of human interference with nature? What common message does each writer hope to communicate? Finally, explain the difference between the theme of ‘I am a Native of North America’ and the author’s purpose in ‘Ships in the Desert.’?’”

  • Sets of questions and tasks provide opportunities to analyze across multiple texts as well as within single texts.

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, students read “The Face of the Deep is Frozen,” a historical essay by Jennifer Armstrong. and “Fire and Ice,” a lyric poem by Robert Frost. While reading “The Face of the Deep is Frozen,” students ``determine how Armstrong organizes the story once Shackleton and his men are introduced.” Students also examine portions of the text and infer “why an expedition to the Antarctic would include dogs,''analyze the diary entry and explain its theme,” and discuss Armstrong’s reason for using the specific word march rather than a more general word. Students also “[m]ake a three-column chart” with the column headings Sensory Details, Precise Words, and Figurative Language “to record some of Armstrong’s most effective word choices.” While reading “Fire and Ice,” students “[d]iscuss the first sentence of the poem, focusing on ways in which either fire or ice could destroy the world.” After reading the poem, the teacher makes a two-column chart on the board with the column headings desire/fire and hate/ice and students ``list other words that describe each combination.” Students respond to the following Text to Text Connection question: “How were the men of Shackleton’s expedition prepared for the end of the world? What would they have thought of Frost’s poem? Think also about how Frost equates fire with desire and ice with hate. Do you agree with those connections? Finally, explain the difference between the theme of ‘Fire and Ice’ and Jennifer Armstrong’s purpose for writing ‘The Face of the Deep is Frozen.’ Write your responses in your notebook.”

Indicator 2d

Culminating tasks require students to demonstrate their knowledge of a unit's topic(s)/theme(s) through integrated literacy skills (e.g., a combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2d. 

Materials include smaller tasks in the Extend Understanding sections at the end of each text, paired selection, and text set. Although these tasks allow students to demonstrate their understanding of texts, these tasks often do not integrate literacy skills and the enactment of these tasks is contingent upon teacher selection and may not occur during core instruction, as a result. Materials include text-specific and text-dependent questions and tasks; however, these questions and tasks are not coherently sequenced, and they do not provide the teacher with usable information on whether students are on track to successfully complete the end-of-unit Culminating Tasks.

Culminating tasks require students to demonstrate their knowledge through integrated literacy skills; however, it is unclear how tasks relate to the unit’s topic/theme. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Culminating tasks are evident and varied across the year and they are multifaceted, requiring students to demonstrate mastery of several different standards (reading, writing, speaking, listening) at the appropriate grade level, and comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics through integrated skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening).

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, during the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop, students write a response to a short story they have read. Students gather specific details from the story that caused them to react as they read. The response must include “a compelling introduction that clearly states [the student’s] response,” “a clear organizational pattern,” varied sentence types, and “a conclusion that sums up [the student’s] response.” This task integrates reading and writing. 

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, students plan a visual presentation during the End-of-Unit Critical Viewing Workshop. Students select a topic and gather information about the topic, “[using] sources such as the Internet, books, magazines, and encyclopedias.” Students take notes, which serve as the foundation for the verbal portion of their presentation, and “decide what kinds of visuals you will use to reinforce your main ideas or clarify the most difficult concepts in your presentation.” This task integrates reading, writing, and speaking and listening. 

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students write a research report on a topic of their choosing during the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop. The research report must include “an introduction that clearly states my purpose and thesis [and] a clear organizational pattern with effective transitions. Students must also use “at least four different sources of information,” including primary and secondary sources, in their research report. Information from sources should be “quoted, paraphrased, and summarized” to support the thesis statement. The research report must also include “an effective conclusion that sums up my main points [and] a list of sources cited in my report.” This task integrates reading and writing.   

  • Earlier text-specific and/or text-dependent questions and tasks are not coherently sequenced and will not give the teacher usable information about the student's readiness (or whether they are “on track”) to complete culminating tasks.

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, during the embedded Writing Skills: Evaluate and Interpret Literary Texts mini lesson for “The 11:59” by Patricia McKissack, students work with a partner to “analyze what makes Lester a good storyteller.” After making a list of storytelling techniques Lester uses, students practice telling Lester’s story. Students also read “The Inn of Lost Time” by Lensey Namioka and “[w]rite a short literary analysis of [the text] in which you examine how the author’s use of flashback helps increase suspense,” during the Informative Writing option in the Extend Understanding section. Students must include a thesis and support for their analysis. After reading “The Serial Garden” by Joan Aiken, students ``[w]rite a brief essay analyzing how Joan Aiken makes her alternative world seem real.” Students must state their main idea in their thesis and support their thesis using examples from the story. These tasks are not coherently sequenced. It is unclear how these tasks provide the teacher with usable information about the student's readiness to complete the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop, in which students write a response to a short story of their choosing. 

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, while reading an entry from The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley, students match a visual aid “to the type of information it would best convey,” during the embedded Speaking & Listening Skills: Visual Aids minilesson. After reading the paired excerpt from “Wild Turkey'' by John James Audubon, students respond to the following Text to Text Connection prompt: “How does Sibley’s ‘Wild Turkey’ entry help you visualize the turkey Audubon describes?” Afterwards, students complete an Analyze Literature: Visual media task. Students think about why “Sibley chose to convey some information visually instead of in written form” and how the use of visual media might “be more effective than language in this context.” After creating a three-column chart to examine Sibley’s use of visual media, students ``write a paragraph that explains the difference between the theme presented in ‘Wild Turkey’ and the author’s purpose within The Sibley Guide to Birds.” Near the end of the unit, students read “Dust Bowl Photographs'' by Arthur Rothstein. In the embedded Speaking & Listening Skills: Oral Summary mini lesson, students “prepare oral summaries of the photographs.” Students select one photograph, “make notes about its main message and the details that convey the message,” and rehearse their summaries with a partner before presenting the summaries to the class. These tasks are not coherently sequenced. It is unclear how these tasks provide the teacher with usable information about the student's readiness to complete the End-of-Unit Critical Viewing Workshop, in which students plan and deliver a visual presentation.

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, after reading “Eshu” retold by Judith Gleason, students ``[r]esearch Nigeria’s history,” during the Lifelong Learning option in the Extend Understanding section. After selecting a topic of interest related to the country’s history, students "research it in greater depth," “[c]reate a multimedia presentation, and present your report to the class.” Later in the unit, students read “Amaterasu '' retold by Carolyn Smith. During the Media Literacy Extend Understanding option, students ``[l]ocate and review several websites that provide information about Japanese culture and history.” Students ``[e]valuate the websites for reliability and quality, explaining the criteria on which you based your evaluation.`` Afterwards, students write a brief paragraph for each website they evaluated. At the end of the unit, students read “Rabbit and the Tug of War '' as told by Michael Thompson with art by Jacob Warrenfeltz. During the Lifelong Learning option in the Extend Understanding section, students conduct research to learn more about the Muskoke Creek people. Afterwards, students ``[c]reate a map showing the major Native American groups in each part of the continental U.S.” These tasks are not coherently sequenced. It is unclear how these tasks provide the teacher with usable information about the student's readiness to complete the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop, in which students write a research report.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to achieve grade-level writing proficiency by the end of the school year.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2e. 

Each unit includes a Writing Workshop that focuses on a specific writing mode and includes numerous supports for both teachers and students, including, but not limited to: guidance during each step of the writing process, checklists, models, and rubrics. During the Writing Workshop, materials explain what students should do during each step of the writing process but rarely provide explicit instruction on the writing mode of focus. Writing Workshop tasks do not connect to the unit theme and are stand-alone in nature with some tasks requiring students to use evidence from sources. Students complete the same Writing Workshop tasks in Grades 6, 7, and 8. Materials include practice opportunities in the Writing Skills section embedded within the End-of-Unit Test Practice Workshop. During this Workshop, students practice timed writing responses and revision and editing skills. As with the Writing Workshops, Test Practice Workshop activities span various genres but are not connected to the unit text selections. The optional Writing and Grammar ancillary may be used to supplant writing instruction and includes lessons for every unit, including a Writing Scope and Sequence that outlines the In-Text Writing Workshops for the school year, the writing mode of focus, and the writing assignment. Materials also include a Writing Rubrics ancillary that contains rubrics for each writing mode. Materials lack teacher guidance on enacting ancillary and optional writing lessons and tasks. 

Materials include a year-long plan for students to achieve grade-level writing proficiency by the end of the school year; however, cohesion is lacking. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Materials include limited writing instruction that aligns to the standards for the grade level and sometimes supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year.

    • While there is an evident structure to the writing aspect of the program, including frequent opportunities for students to write in various modes and for various purposes, supports, and tools for monitoring student writing development, the structure lacks cohesion. Materials include the following Writing Workshops— four informative, one argumentative, one descriptive, two narrative—resulting in an uneven distribution of explicit instruction on the writing modes required by the standards. Test Practice Workshops do not include explicit instruction and their mode of focus differs from that of the Writing Workshops. It is unclear how writing instruction and tasks build upon each other to promote growth in students’ skills over the course of the unit and across the year.

    • While materials offer a number of writing opportunities, explicit writing instruction is largely absent. During the End-of-Unit Writing Workshops, students spend three regular schedule days or one and a half block schedule days transitioning through the writing process as they complete a process writing task on a specific mode of focus. Writing Workshop tasks include:

      • Unit 1—Informative Writing: Responding to a Short Story

      • Unit 2—Narrative Writing: Writing a Short Story

      • Unit 3—Informative Writing: Cause-and-Effect Essay

      • Unit 4—Descriptive Writing: Descriptive Essay

      • Unit 5—Informative Writing: Compare-and-Contrast Essay

      • Unit 6—Narrative Writing: Personal Narrative

      • Unit 7—Argumentative Writing: Argumentative Essay

      • Unit 8—Informative Writing: Research Paper

  • Instructional materials include a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development; however, materials lack teacher guidance on the use of ancillary and optional writing supports.

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, students write a descriptive essay during the Writing Workshop. The Program Resource notes instruct teachers to refer to the Writing and Grammar ancillary for additional practice and guidance. These lessons follow the same model used in the textbook and also include some additional features: a literary model, an expanded Prewrite section, a Revision Checklist, a Grammar and Style box, a Writing Rubric, and original and revised/edited student drafts.  Teacher guidance notes the ancillary can also be used to “engage students in writing about literature,” “engage students in writing across the four modes,” and in combination with supplemental writing lessons to “create a comprehensive writing strand.” 

    • In Unit 6, Searching Beyond the Surface, the Narrative Writing Workshop contains a Student Model. The Teacher Wrap in the Teacher Edition supports teachers with guiding students in reviewing the model, paying close attention to the side notes that capture the writer’s techniques, as well as the way the writer indicates the event’s significance. Guidance also supports teachers with having students outline the model to understand the writer’s strategies and use graphic organizers to investigate the writer’s development of character and setting. 

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students complete an Argumentative Writing Workshop, during which they construct an argumentative essay. Throughout the writing process, the Workshop includes What Great Writers Do sidebars that point out exceptional writing skills. One reads: “Encourage students to be careful to support their claims with logical arguments.”

Indicator 2f

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.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2f. 

While materials provide frequent opportunities for short research tasks connected to the texts students read, materials do not include a progression of research skills according to grade-level standards. The embedded Research Skills insets include research skills practice opportunities but rarely include explicit instruction of research skills. Some research skills repeat across grade levels and often do not align to grade-level standards. Where appropriate, research tasks include resources to develop students’ knowledge of different aspects of a topic. Most short research projects occur during Extend Understanding tasks. These tasks are optional and may not occur during core instruction. Students have one opportunity in each grade level to conduct a long research project—during the Unit 8 Writing Workshop. During this end-of-grade level task, materials include directions to guide students through each step of the research writing process but provide limited explicit instruction of standards-aligned research skills. 

Materials do not 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. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Research projects are not sequenced across a school year to include a progression of research skills according to grade-level standards. 

    • While there are frequent opportunities for students to complete informal research tasks, materials lack explicit, standards-aligned research skills instruction. While the Teacher Edition includes embedded Research Skills insets throughout each unit, explicit instruction is lacking and the progression of skills often repeats across each grade level and does not align to grade-level standards, as a result. During most Research Skills sections, students practice a research skill but do not receive explicit instruction on the research skill. The progression of research skills and activities is as follows:

      • Unit 1: generate questions for research topic, compare sources, multimedia sources

      • Unit 2: primary and secondary sources

      • Unit 3: key word searches

      • Unit 4: evaluate sources

      • Unit 5: find examples

      • Unit 6: no evidence found

      • Unit 7: primary sources, graphic organizers

      • Unit 8: research report (Writing Workshop) 

    • During the one in-depth research project per grade level, students complete research tasks as outlined in the standards but receive limited explicit instruction when doing so. While the research-focused Writing Workshop provides detailed process steps to complete the task, the Workshop rarely includes explicit instruction or scaffolding during each step of the research writing process.

  • Materials rarely support teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge of different aspects of a topic via provided resources. 

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students read the Greek myth “Persephone and Demeter” by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire. Students may complete a Lifelong Learning task in which they find a myth that explains the same aspects of nature as “Persephone and Demeter.”  The Program Resource section instructs the teacher to use the Extension Activities resource to support instruction. This resource provides tips for conducting Internet research, as well as graphic organizers to record notes about the two myths and to compare/contrast the two myths.  

  • Materials provide many opportunities for students to synthesize and analyze content tied to the texts under study as a part of the research process. 

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, after reading “The Foghorn” by Ray Bradbury and “The Aqualung” by David Macauley, students may research legendary underwater creatures. Students create a log with information and then answer the following questions: “Which creature do you find the most believable? Why?” Students then assess whether the websites used formality and tone correctly, offering suggestions for improvement. This Media Literacy task is one of four Extend Understanding options from which the teacher can select and,as a result, may not occur during core instruction. 

    • In Unit 3, Experiencing the World, students read “A Black Athlete Looks at Education” by Arthur Ashe. Afterwards, students work with a partner to conduct research on a sport they want to know more about, during the Collaborative Learning option in the Extend Understanding section. Students have to find information, work to summarize it, and create visuals that synthesize the information and will help them present to their class.

    • In Unit 6, Searching Beneath the Surface, after reading “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe and “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes, students research the careers and works of Edgar Allan Poe and Alfred Noyes during a Lifelong Learning task in the Extend Understanding section. Students study other poems by the authors, then write a paragraph that discusses how the poems fit into the poets’ larger body of work. Students also note the tone of each poem, the environment it was written in, and each author’s biography before presenting their research to their peers. This post-reading task is one of four options from which the teacher can select and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students read the Yoruban folktale “Eshu” by Judith Gleason. During a Lifelong Learning Extend Understanding task, students research the history of Nigeria using general references. Then, the class brainstorms specific topics about the country. Students select a topic of interest from the list, research it, and create a multimedia presentation to present their report to the class. 

  • Students are provided with opportunities for both “short” and “long” projects across the course of a year and grade bands. 

    • In Unit 2, Learning Values, after reading “Hollywood and the Pits” by Cherylene Lee, students use the internet to find information on an archaeological site in or near their state. Students write a letter to the site director asking questions about the site. This Media Literacy Extend Understanding task is one of four options from which the teacher can select and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction. 

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, students read the essay, “Ships in the Desert” by Al Gore, along with the personal essay, “I Am a Native of North America” by Chief Dan George. Afterwards, students search the Internet to find websites that discuss environmental issues. After narrowing the list down to ten, students evaluate the site to determine the author’s purpose, tone, bias, and credibility. This Media Literacy option is one of four Extend Understanding tasks from which the teacher can select and, as a result, may not occur during core instruction.

    • In Unit 5, Facing Challenges, after reading Act 2 of A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley by Israel Horowitz, students have the option to research religious holidays and practices from another culture. Students create a full oral report and must share the report  with their class using “visuals, examples, and other nonverbal media to enliven their presentation.” This Lifelong Learning Extend Understanding task is one of four post-reading options from which the teacher can choose and may not occur during core instruction, as a result. 

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, during the End-of-Unit Writing Workshop, students write a research report on a topic of interest. Students must use at least four primary and secondary sources and also evaluate those sources to ensure they are accurate and current.

Criterion 2g - 2h

Materials promote mastery of grade-level standards by the end of the year.

4/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 do not meet the criteria for coherence. Instruction, practice, and assessments are based on teacher selection from a list of options. Questions and tasks do not consistently align to grade-level standards or meet the full intent of the standards. It is unclear if the majority of assessment items align to grade-level standards. There is no guarantee that materials repeatedly address grade-level standards within and across units to ensure students master the full intent of the standards. The amount of material cannot reasonably be completed within the suggested amount of time and is not viable for a school year. The volume of optional tasks distracts from core learning. Some optional tasks are meaningful and enhance core instruction.

Indicator 2g

Materials spend the majority of instructional time on content that falls within grade-level aligned instruction, practice, and assessments.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2g.

Instruction, practice, and assessments are based on teacher selection from a list of options. As a result, there is no true core instructional path. The Lesson Plan for each text includes the following sections: Before Reading, During Reading, After Reading. Within each section, teachers select or choose activities from a list of core and ancillary resources. Most ancillary resources, such as Unit & Selection Resources, do not provide explicit instruction nor do they identify correlated standards for the provided content. Some questions and tasks align to grade-level standards while others do not align or do not meet the full intent of the standards. Because assessments do not identify the standards addressed, it is unclear if the majority of assessment items align to grade-level standards. Although the Correlation to Common Core State Standards document lists page numbers covering the standards in each strand, without a true core instructional path and because the majority of questions and tasks do not align to grade-level standards, there is no guarantee that materials repeatedly address grade-level standards within and across units to ensure students master the full intent of the standards.

Materials do not spend the majority of instructional time on content that falls within grade-level aligned instruction, practice, and assessments. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Over the course of each unit, some instruction is aligned to grade-level standards.

    • In the Digital Teacher Edition, the Grade 7 Correlation to Common Core State Standards document lists page numbers for each standard in Reading: Literature, Reading: Informational Text, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language; however, the page numbers listed do not always contain opportunities for explicit instruction or address the correlated standard. 

      • For example, the Correlation to Common Core State Standards document states in the EMC Pages That Cover the Standards column for W.8: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.This page contains an Analyze Literature task and four Extend Understanding options. During the Media Literacy Extend Understanding task, students conduct Internet research; however, guidance for the task does not include explicit instruction of the correlated standard.      

  • Over the course of each unit, some questions and tasks are aligned to grade-level standards. 

    • Questions often focus on comprehension strategies, such as Make Connections, Ask Questions, Draw Conclusions, and Visualize. These comprehension strategies do not align to grade-level standards. Some Extend Understanding tasks align to grade-level standards, while others either do not align or do not meet the full requirements of the standards. Because post-reading questions and tasks do not have correlated standards identified, it is not always clear which question or task addresses the standard listed on the Correlation to Common Core State Standards document.

      • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students read the Yoruban folktale, “Eshu” retold by Judith Gleason. While reading a specified passage of the text, students respond to the following Use Reading Skills prompt: “Encourage students to use visualization as they consider the main idea. For example, as the friends begin to fight here, have readers take time to visualize the details provided earlier about Eshu’s appearance. That way they will better understand why the two men disagree.” While this prompt uses visualization to address the main idea, it does not address the full intent of the standard: “Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.” 

  • Over the course of each unit, it is unclear whether the majority of assessment questions are aligned to grade-level standards. 

    • Materials do not identify assessed standards on Selection Quizzes, Lesson Tests, Unit Exams, or Formative Surveys. As a result, it is unclear whether the majority of assessment questions are aligned to grade-level standards. 

  • By the end of the academic year, standards are not repeatedly addressed within and across units to ensure students master the full intent of the standard.

    • Because the page numbers listed on the Correlation to Common Core State Standards document for each standard in Reading: Literature, Reading: Informational Text, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language are not always the standard addressed and because the majority of questions and tasks do not align to grade-level standards, materials do not consistently provide students with multiple opportunities to address standards within and across units to ensure mastery. It is also unclear which items address the correlated standard, because standards are not identified at the question or task level.  

      • The Correlation to Common Core State Standards document lists page numbers for L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

        • a. Interpret figures of speech (e.g., literary, biblical, and mythological allusions) in context.

        • b. Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonym/antonym, analogy) to better understand each of the words.

        • c. Distinguish among the connotations(associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g. refined, respectful, polite, diplomatic, condescending.

      On page 14, students focus on denotation and connotation, and spelling words with double letters, during the Vocabulary & Spelling Workshop. On page 130, students identify the roots, prefixes, and suffixes” for a list of six academic terms and write the meaning of each word in their own terms, using a dictionary if needed. While the first Workshop addresses one sub-standard, this sub-standard is not revisited in the subsequent Workshop nor are the other sub-standards addressed in either Workshop.

Indicator 2h

Materials regularly and systematically balance time and resources required for following the suggested implementation, as well as information for alternative implementations that maintain alignment and intent of the standards.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 7 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2h. 

The Visual Planning Guide for each unit includes suggested pacing for each text, but there is no suggested timeline for the pacing of units nor for the curriculum as a whole over the course of the year. The suggested pacing for texts does not take into account the extension opportunities or End-of-Unit Speaking & Listening, Writing, or Test Practice Workshops. While materials provide a large variety of optional tasks, the amount of material cannot reasonably be completed within the suggested amount of time and is not viable for a school year. Similarly, as teachers use the editable lesson plan templates in the Program Planning Guide Editable Lesson Plans resource, materials do not provide direction as to what the suggested optional tasks are, which should be used in conjunction with one another, or the pacing for the tasks. Although these resources are provided, the curriculum lacks clear directives to explain how to incorporate core instruction, found in the Teacher’s Edition, and ancillary resources. Furthermore, the curriculum fails to provide teacher guidance on when and how to incorporate reteaching and remediation within the provided pacing suggestions. The Program Planning Guide includes the Mirrors & Windows College & Career Readiness Curriculum Guide Level II (Grade 7), an alternative implementation schedule that focuses on selections and workshops necessary for students to “master critical skills that appear on state and national assessments.” 

Materials do not regularly and systematically balance time and resources required for following the suggested implementation, as well as information for alternative implementations that maintain alignment and intent of the standards. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Suggested implementation schedules and alternative implementation schedules do not consistently align to core learning and objectives. 

    • In Unit 1, Meeting the Unexpected, students read the short story “The Portrait” by Tomas Rivera. The Scope and Sequence Guide outlines the lesson components, including the Reading Skill: analyze cause and effect, the Literary Element: conflict, and the Mirrors & Windows theme: miscommunication. The text overview page sets a purpose for reading that focuses on students skimming the first page of the text to make a prediction about the story’s conflict and resolution, defines the terms plot, conflict, climax, and resolution, and provides a sample chart to track causes and effects. Objectives include, but are not limited to, “use reading skills such as analyzing cause and effect” and “define plot and recognize the elements of plot in the selection..” Before reading, students read through the text overview page and respond to a prompt addressing the Mirrors & Windows theme. During reading, students respond to one Use Reading Skills prompt addressing cause and effect and one Analyze Literature prompt addressing plot. After reading, students respond to the Mirrors & Windows question addressing miscommunication, six Text-Dependent Questions, and an Analyze Literature: Plot prompt in which they “indicate the climax and resolution of ‘The Portrait’” on a plot diagram and “[e]xplain at what points you verified or changed your predictions about the outcome of the story.” While the four optional Extend Understanding tasks connect to the text, the Collaborative Learning: List Setting Details and Lifelong Learning: Research the Internet options do not align to core learning and objectives. 

    • In Unit 4, Responding to Nature, students read the anchor text, “Ships in the Desert” by Al Gore, along with the informational Text Connection piece, “I Am a Native of North America,” by Chief Dan George. The Scope and Sequence Guide outlines the lesson components, including the Reading Skill: main idea and supporting details, the Literary Element: analogy, and the Mirrors & Windows theme: environmental activism. The text overview page sets a purpose for reading that focuses on students using the Build Background information and the first paragraph of the text to predict the environmental changes Gore will focus on in his essay, defines the term analogy, and provides a sample web to “keep track of details that can help you find the main idea.” Objectives include, but are not limited to, “use reading skills such as analyzing the main idea and supporting details” and “compare the perspectives that Al Gore and Chief Dan George hold regarding the environment.” The lesson plan is separated into Before Reading (Preview and Motivate), During Reading (Teach the Selection and Differentiate Instruction), and After Reading (Review, Teach the Workshops, and Extend and Assess) sections. Before reading, students read through the text overview page and respond to a Mirrors & Windows discussion prompt. During reading, students respond to four Use Reading Skills questions on analyzing the main idea and supporting details and two Analyze Literature questions on analogy. Students also respond to two Use Reading Skills questions on comparing and contrasting, during which students compare and contrast each author’s perspectives. After reading Gore’s work, students respond to the Mirrors & Windows question addressing environmental activism and five Text-Dependent Questions. After reading George’s work, students respond to a Text to Text Connection prompt in which students identify the different details each author uses “to illustrate the causes and effects of human interference with nature” and “the common message the writers hope to communicate, and “explain the difference between the theme of ‘I am a Native of North America’ and the author’s purpose in ‘Ships in the Desert.’” Students also respond to an Analyze Literature: Analogy prompt in which they use a chart to record the analogies in “Ships in the Desert,” “tell what the analogies compare,” write one or two sentences explaining “how these analogies affect the author’s message,” and “write a full summary of the essay.” While the four Extend Understanding task options connect to the texts, the Media Literacy: Conduct Internet Research option does not address the core learning objectives. 

  • Suggested implementation schedules cannot be reasonably completed in the time allotted.

    • The Program Planning Guide notes the overabundance of material: “To help you meet the diverse needs of your students, the Mirrors & Windows program offers a wealth of material—much more than you can teach in one school year. As a result, one challenge you will face is identifying the resources that are best suited to your particular situation.” 

    • As an alternative to the Scope and Sequence Guide provided in each unit, materials include the Mirrors & Windows College & Career Readiness Curriculum Guide Level II (Grade 7): “The selections and workshops listed here represent the core course of study students need to master critical skills that appear on state and national assessments. To ensure standards coverage, students who are having difficulty may concentrate on only these selections and workshops. Students on and above grade level may read more selections.” When utilizing this abridged course of study, the teacher must still select which instructional activities to enact during each Program Planning Guide lesson plan.

    • The Program Planning Guide contains lesson plans for each text selection and the three end-of-unit Workshops. Text selection lesson plans include the following sections: Before Reading, During Reading, and After Reading. In the Before Reading: Preview and Motivate section, teachers “[c]hoose from the following materials to preview the selection and motivate your students.” The During Reading section contains two sub-sections, Teach the Selection(s) and Differentiate Instruction. Teachers choose from a list of resources to teach the selection and consider “alternative teaching options to differentiate instruction.” The After Reading section contains two to three subsections: Review and Extend, Teach the Workshop(s), and Assess. Teachers select activities from a list of options and resources to extend learning and teach the Workshop included, where applicable. Teachers do not select from a list of options during the Assess subsection. The lesson plan does not provide guidance on how many minutes each option should take or how long the lesson should last. Pacing guidance is limited to the number of regular schedule or block schedule days that the lesson should take. 

  • Optional tasks distract from core learning. 

    • In Unit 5, Appreciating Life, students read the lyric poem “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes. After reading, students may complete an Extend Understanding task. During the Collaborative Learning option, students “discuss the kinds of challenges the speaker in this poem might have faced.” During the Critical Literacy option, students perform a dramatic reading of the poem. The Program Resources note directs teachers to utilize the Extension Activities ancillary workbook to guide the completion of this Critical Literacy task. These tasks do not align to the Analyze Literature focus, repetition, nor do they align to the Reading Skills focus, identify the main idea.

    • In Unit 8, Seeking Wisdom, students read a paired selection comprised of “The Secret Name of Ra '' by Geraldine Harris and an excerpt from Ankhenaton’s Hymn to the Sun by John A. Wilson. The lesson plan for this text includes nine additional After Reading task options, ranging from Selection Quizzes to group discussion questions to vocabulary and spelling practice exercises. The optional tasks focus on a multitude of items, such as homophones and homographs, multiple word meanings, and character motivations. Due to the limited teacher guidance on selecting activities, the volume of optional tasks distract from core learning.

  • Some optional tasks are meaningful and enhance core instruction.

    • In Unit 6, Searching Beneath the Surface, students read “For my Father” by Janice Mirikitani. After reading, optional Extend Understanding tasks include a Creative Writing assignment where students write a personal letter, a literary response, a research report on the setting of the poem, and a dialogue activity. While three of the Extend Understanding task options connect to the text and align to grade-level standards, the Creative Writing activity does not.

    • In Unit 7, Facing Challenges, students read the drama “A Defenseless Creature” by Neil Simon. As a post-reading option in the Unit and Selection Resources ancillary, students may use reading strategies to make connections. The worksheet includes a choice of four prompts during which students make text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections. These task options do not align to grade-level standards, or the Reading Skills or Analyze Literature foci for the text.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3h

The program includes opportunities for teachers to effectively plan and utilize materials with integrity and to further develop their own understanding of the content.

Indicator 3a

Materials provide teacher guidance with useful annotations and suggestions for how to enact the student materials and ancillary materials, with specific attention to engaging students in order to guide their literacy development.

N/A

Indicator 3b

Materials contain adult-level explanations and examples of the more complex grade/course-level concepts and concepts beyond the current course so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject.

N/A

Indicator 3c

Materials include standards correlation information that explains the role of the standards in the context of the overall series.

N/A

Indicator 3d

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

N/A

Indicator 3e

Materials provide explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.

N/A

Indicator 3f

Materials provide a comprehensive list of supplies needed to support instructional activities.

N/A

Indicator 3g

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Indicator 3h

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Criterion 3i - 3l

The program includes a system of assessments identifying how materials provide tools, guidance, and support for teachers to collect, interpret, and act on data about student progress towards the standards.

Indicator 3i

Assessment information is included in the materials to indicate which standards are assessed.

N/A

Indicator 3j

Assessment system provides multiple opportunities throughout the grade, course, and/or series to determine students' learning and sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.

N/A

Indicator 3k

Assessments include opportunities for students to demonstrate the full intent of grade-level/course-level standards and practices across the series.

N/A

Indicator 3l

Assessments offer accommodations that allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills without changing the content of the assessment.

N/A

Criterion 3m - 3v

The program includes materials designed for each child’s regular and active participation in grade-level/grade-band/series content.

Indicator 3m

Materials provide strategies and supports for students in special populations to work with grade-level content and to meet or exceed grade-level standards that will support their regular and active participation in learning English language arts and literacy.

N/A

Indicator 3n

Materials regularly provide extensions to engage with literacy content and concepts at greater depth for students who read, write, speak, and/or listen above grade level.

N/A

Indicator 3o

Materials provide varied approaches to learning tasks over time and variety in how students are expected to demonstrate their learning with opportunities for for students to monitor their learning.

N/A

Indicator 3p

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

N/A

Indicator 3q

Materials provide strategies and supports for students who read, write, and/or speak in a language other than English to meet or exceed grade-level standards to regularly participate in learning English language arts and literacy.

N/A

Indicator 3r

Materials provide a balance of images or information about people, representing various demographic and physical characteristics.

N/A

Indicator 3s

Materials provide guidance to encourage teachers to draw upon student home language to facilitate learning.

N/A

Indicator 3t

Materials provide guidance to encourage teachers to draw upon student cultural and social backgrounds to facilitate learning.

N/A

Indicator 3u

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Indicator 3v

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Criterion 3w - 3z

The program includes a visual design that is engaging and references or integrates digital technology (when applicable) with guidance for teachers.

Indicator 3w

Materials integrate technology such as interactive tools, virtual manipulatives/objects, and/or dynamic software in ways that engage students in the grade-level/series standards, when applicable.

N/A

Indicator 3x

Materials include or reference digital technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other, when applicable.

N/A

Indicator 3y

The visual design (whether in print or digital) supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject, and is neither distracting nor chaotic.

N/A

Indicator 3z

Materials provide teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning, when applicable.

N/A
abc123

Report Published Date: 2021/08/26

Report Edition: 2020

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Mirrors & Windows 2020 - Student Edition Grade 7 978‑1‑5338‑3664‑9 EMC School, Part of Carnegie Learning 2020
Mirrors & Windows 2020 - Teacher's Edition Grade 7 978‑1‑5338‑3671‑7 EMC School, Part of Carnegie Learning 2020

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

ELA 3-8 Review Tool

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

For ELA, our review criteria evaluates 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 review criteria by elaborating details for each indicator including the purpose of the indicator, information on how to collect evidence, guiding questions and discussion prompts, and scoring criteria.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Math K-8

  • Focus and Coherence - 14 possible points

    • 12-14 points: Meets Expectations

    • 8-11 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 8 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 18 possible points

    • 16-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 11-15 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 11 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 38 possible points

    • 31-38 points: Meets Expectations

    • 23-30 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 23: Does Not Meet Expectations

Math High School

  • Focus and Coherence - 18 possible points

    • 14-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 16 possible points

    • 14-16 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 36 possible points

    • 30-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 22-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 22: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA K-2

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 58 possible points

    • 52-58 points: Meets Expectations

    • 28-51 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 28 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

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

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 3-5

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 42 possible points

    • 37-42 points: Meets Expectations

    • 21-36 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 21 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

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

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 6-8

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 36 possible points

    • 32-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 18-31 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 18 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

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

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


ELA High School

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meets Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

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

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

Science Middle School

  • Designed for NGSS - 26 possible points

    • 22-26 points: Meets Expectations

    • 13-21 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 13 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Coherence and Scope - 56 possible points

    • 48-56 points: Meets Expectations

    • 30-47 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 30 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 54 possible points

    • 46-54 points: Meets Expectations

    • 29-45 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 29 points: Does Not Meet Expectations