Alignment: Overall Summary

The Open Court Grade 3 materials partially meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the expectations of the standards. Materials include high-quality texts of appropriate complexity throughout the year. Some strategies and routines, including those for independent reading may need to be supplemented to align with the standards.

Text-based opportunities, protocols, questions and tasks support students as both listeners and speakers. On-demand and process writing opportunities encompass all the genres set forth in the standards, though informative/explanatory writing has greater coverage. The program includes explicit instruction in and practice of grammar skills.

Materials contain explicit instruction in and assessment of grade-appropriate foundational skills across the year. However, the materials lack teacher guidance for remediation and support of students who are not performing at grade level. The continued growth and application of foundational skills is not supported in all parts of the reading program.

Not all units in the program effectively build students’ knowledge on a topic. While text analysis is well-covered, including some analysis of knowledge and ideas within and across texts, not all questions and tasks compel students to return to the text to support their contentions and conclusions.

Students engage in frequent writing tasks across the year however they may not achieve the full balance of writing genres outlined in the standards. 

The Inquiry projects that conclude each unit teach some research skills but do not provide adequate growth in those skills. These projects also fall short of demonstrating the growth of students’ knowledge and skills from the unit.  

The materials provide coverage of the standards throughout all units and over the course of the year, however, the preponderance of repetitive, unaligned reading strategies throughout the program moves the focus of the instruction, questions, tasks, and assessments away from a tight focus on grade level standards alignment. The program also contains a large volume of material without a suggested daily schedule; therefore, a full and standards-aligned implementation could be challenging.

Alignment

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Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality and Complexity

0
20
37
42
29
37-42
Meets Expectations
21-36
Partially Meets Expectations
0-20
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 Open Court Grade 3 materials include high-quality texts that meet the expectations of the standards. Texts are appropriately complex, growing in complexity over the course of the year, but do not include comprehensive text complexity analysis information. The texts grow in complexity over the course of the year, but the strategies and routines may need to be supplemented to assure students are reading grade-level text independently by the end of the year. There is minimal support for independent reading and accountability.

The program provides text-based opportunities, protocols, questions and tasks to support students as both listeners and speakers.

Students engage in daily writing opportunities over the course of the year, including opportunities for process writing, including editing and revision and the use of digital resources. While the writing opportunities encompass all the genres set forth in the standards, there is a greater emphasis on informative/explanatory writing. The program includes explicit instruction in and practice of grammar skills.

Materials contain explicit instruction in and assessment of grade-appropriate foundational skills across the year. However, the materials lack teacher guidance for remediation and support of students who are not performing at grade level.

Instruction, practice, and application of word analysis skills is found within the foundation skills materials, but the application of these skills is not supported within the anchor texts that are found in the Reading and Responding lessons.

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.

13/18
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-
Criterion Rating Details

The Open Court Grade 3 materials include a wide range of high-quality and high-interest texts that include rich language and key academic vocabulary. The historical fiction, myths, poetry, biographies and dramas meet the expectations of the standards and present a 50/50 balance between literary and informational texts. 

The overall complexity of the texts is appropriate to meet the instructional needs for Grade 3, however, the materials do not include a description of the qualitative measures, features, or analysis for the texts, nor do they include a rationale for the purpose and placement of the texts. Additionally, while the complexity of the texts grows over the course of the year, the comprehension strategies and routines remain static and do not provide a clear path to grade-level reader independence. While students engage in reading a broad swath of texts, including a number of science and social studies texts, there are few suggestions, supports, and accountability measures designed to support independent reading.   

Indicator 1a

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

4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for Indicator 1a. 

The materials contain a variety of publishable anchor texts that span the year’s worth of materials. The texts include a wide range of student interests such as weather, science fiction, adventure, Greek Mythology, and biographies. Colorful and engaging illustrations are common among the texts. Texts include rich language that builds on key academic vocabulary that is highlighted throughout the text. Texts cover a variety of historical events and human interest. Texts and topics allow students to relate and/or reflect on themselves, their world, and their actions. The texts are well-crafted and content-rich. 

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

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 5, students read The Great Prairie Fire by Marilyn Reynolds. This historical fiction text takes place in the Great Plains over 100 years ago. This text tells the story or experience of a homesteader, facing a difficult life with few natural resources and striving for a prosperous farm. 

  • In Unit 2 Lesson 1, students read Storm Chasers by Alanna Parker. This is an informational text about people who follow real storms, illustrated with actual photographs of storms, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and their destructiveness. 

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 2, students read Harlem Renaissance by Matthew Gollub. This is an informational text describing a time in American history when African American art, music, and writing thrived. The text is supported by actual images of that time with descriptive captions. In addition, the anchor text is strengthened by the poetic writing of Langston Hughes, one of the most well-known African American writers from the Harlem Renaissance. 

  • In Unit 4 Lesson 3, students read Einstein Anderson and the Mighty Ants by Seymour Simon. This is a realistic fiction text that uses comic-like illustrations to tell the story of a sixth-grade scientist whose ambitions include using giant ants. The author presents the reader with real scientific information about the subject alongside the story.

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, students read Marching With Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage by Claire Rudolph Murphy. This historical fiction text is set in 1896 about a vote for women’s suffrage during a time in America when women were not allowed to vote in political elections. The illustrations support the time period, emotions, and the dedication women strived towards to succeed with their cause. In addition, real images of a suffrage march and an explanation of suffrage history enhance the reader’s ability to visualize such an event.

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 1, students read Little Melba and Her Big Trombone. This biography about jazz musician Melba Doretta Liston is engaging for students. The illustrations are colorful, and the text contains onomatopoeia, often highlighted in colorful and bold font.

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 materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for Indicator 1b. 

The materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Text types include, but are not limited to, historical fiction, myths, poetry, biographies, and dramas. The materials also reflect a 50/50 balance between informational texts and literary texts. Core texts demonstrate a comprehensive collection of informational and literary texts integrated throughout units. The materials are more literary-heavy towards the beginning of the year, with Unit 1 containing six literary anchor texts and no informational anchor texts.  In contrast, the units at the end of the year are more informational-heavy, with Unit 6 containing five informational anchor texts and one literary anchor text. However, over the course of the year’s worth of materials, students read a balance of text types. In addition, supplemental texts included to enhance core reading also provide a variety of genres including biographies, dramas, fables, historical fiction, poetry, narrative nonfiction, realistic fiction, and informational texts.

Materials reflect the distribution of text types/genres required by the grade-level standards. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 4, during Reading and Responding, students read the historical fiction text, Bummer and Lazarus by Dennis Fertig and the poem “The Clownfish to the Anemone” by Ann Harland. 

  • In Unit 1 Lesson 1, students read the fantasy text, The Origami Master by Nathaniel Lochenmeyer.

  • In Unit 2 Lesson 3, during Reading and Responding, students read an informational text, Tornadoes by Gail Gibbons.

  • In Unit 2 Lesson 4, students read the play, “Get the Facts” by Sheila Hernandez.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 3, during Reading and Respond, students read the historical fiction text, The Overlanders by Jason Nemeth.

  • In Unit 3 Lesson 5, students read the biography, The Dancing Bird of Paradise by Renee S. Sanford.

  • In Unit 4 Lesson 4, during Reading and Responding, students read an informational text, Amazing Animals by Karen E. Martin 

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, during Reading and Responding, students read the historical fiction text, Marching with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage by Claire Randolph Murphy 

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 1, during Reading and Responding, students read an informational text which includes myths, The Power of Music by Karen E. Martin. Materials reflect a 50/50 balance of informational and literary texts.

Materials reflect a roughly 50/50 balance of informational and literary texts, with 17 literary and 20 informational texts. 

  • Examples of informational include but are not limited to, the following:

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 1, students read an informational text, Storm Chasers by Alanna Parker.

    • In Unit 3, Lesson 5, students read an excerpt from the biography The Dancing Bird of Paradise by Renée S. Sanford.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 4, students read an informational text, Amazing Animals by Karen E. Martin. 

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 4, students read an informational text, The United States Capital by Holly Karpetkova.

  • Examples of literature include but are not limited to, the following:

    • In Unit 1 Lesson 2, students read the realistic fiction text, Little Havana by Lana Cruce.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 3, students read an excerpt of the realistic fiction text, Einstein Anderson and The Might Ants by Seymour Simon. 

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, students read the historical fiction text, Marching with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage by Claire Randolph Murphy.

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 3, students read the realistic fiction text, Marshall’s Role by Sam Estrada.

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 materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1c. 

The materials include texts that are of an appropriate level of complexity for Grade 3. The materials provide Lexile levels for all the anchor texts, and the majority of the texts fall within the Grade 3 Lexile band range of 420-820. For the first quarter, texts have a quantitative Lexile range from 470-990. In the second quarter, texts have a quantitative Lexile range from 460-840. During the third quarter, texts range quantitatively from 570-860. For the final quarter, texts have a quantitative Lexile range from 690-1010. Overall, these ranges are appropriate for the grade level. The Grade 3 materials do not provide qualitative measures, features, or analysis for anchor texts to support the complexity indicators of meaning/purpose, text structure, language features, and knowledge demands. The materials do not provide a rationale for educational purpose and placement.

Most anchor/core texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 4, during Reading and Responding, students read Bummer and Lazarus by Dennis Fertig, which has a Lexile of 720. The text is moderately complex due to the narrative nonfiction structure that follows two dogs in San Francisco during the 1800’s. 

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 1, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students read Storm Chasers by Alanna Parker. The Lexile level for this text is 780 and is moderately complex based on content specific vocabulary.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 2, during Reading and Responding, students read The Cherokee: Gold and Tears by Jessica Lasko, which has a Lexile of 710. The text is moderately complex due to historical elements and academic vocabulary. 

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 6, during Reading and Responding, students read So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George, which has a Lexile level of 810. The text is moderately complex due to academic vocabulary and an engaging story structure. 

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 6, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read Ah, Music! by Aliki, with a Lexile level of 740. The text is moderately complex due to the variety of informational text features.

A rationale for educational purpose and placement is not provided by the materials.

  • The publisher gives the quantitative information of the text selections by providing the Lexile levels for anchor texts. Materials do not provide a qualitative measurement for text complexity. 

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 materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1d. 

The instructional materials provide texts that cover the appropriate Lexile band for Grade 3. The Lexile levels of the texts range from 460-1010, with the majority of the texts falling in the Grade 3 Lexile range of 420-820. Text complexity falls within the grade level band and does not build over the course of the year. Throughout the course of the year, comprehension strategies that are modeled earlier on are revisited later with less modeling by the teacher. More complex texts have more modeling by the teacher, or use strategies previously taught in the materials. The texts require students to read and reread each text multiple times within the week. The first read of the core text is with strong teacher support; whereas on the third read, students do the reading independently with limited support, if needed. As the year progresses, the routines for reading and analyzing texts are similar and do not change based on the complexity of the text, making it difficult to see how the materials build independence in the reader throughout the year. Reader and task demands frequently focus primarily on comprehension strategies, such as predicting and making connections, that do not align with the standards. Over the course of the year, the materials transition from teacher modeling to teacher prompting when reading and rereading text selections. 

The complexity of anchor texts students read provides an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to increase across the year, encompassing an entire year’s worth of growth. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The texts found in Unit 1 range from 420-720 and include “The White Spider’s Gift,” a play adapted by Jamie Turner (with a Lexile level of 590) and Bummer and Lazarus

  • The texts found in Unit 2 range from 700-990 and include Storm Chasers by Alanna Parker. This text has a Lexile level of 770. 

  • The texts found in Unit 3 range from 630-840 and include The Overlanders by Suzanne Collins. This text has a Lexile of 630.

  • The texts found in Unit 4 range from 570-810 and include Animals and Their Habitats. This text has a Lexile of 660. 

  • The texts found in Unit 5 range from 730-1010 and include the text Marching with Aunt Susan by Claire Rudolf Murphy. This text has a Lexile of 730.

  • The texts found in Unit 6 range from 690-770 and include the text Behind the Scenes by Tina Messerly. The Lexile level is 770. 

As texts become more complex, appropriate scaffolds and/or materials are provided in the Teacher Edition (e.g., spending more time on texts, more questions, repeated readings, skill lessons). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, Day 2, the Reading and Response Tab identifies Lexile 630 for the anchor text, a fantasy, The Origami Master by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer in the Student anthology booklet. Under the Read Selection section of the Teacher Edition, the “Comprehension Strategy” Predicting is modeled during the first read. Students are provided scaffolding with the sentence stems to help make predictions: I predict ____ because ____. The clues the author gave are ____, so I predict ______. On Day 2, the teacher uses the “Access Complex Text” under the Reading Response Tab to model Cause and Effect using a graphic organizer. As students read, they are asked to identify cause and effect. Materials state: “Have students read the first paragraph on page 14. Ask students to identify an effect caused by the fact that Shima has chosen to live high in the mountains.” On Day 5, in the Access Complex Text tab, students are asked to identify related causes and effects in “The Origami Master” after multiple readings throughout the week.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 1, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students read the historical fiction core text A New Life For Mei by Judy Kentor Schmauss with a Lexile of 710. During Reading and Response, comprehension strategies provide a model and prompt of Predicting and Asking and Answering Questions. The Asking Questions Teacher Model provides the following prompts: “I wonder how she will be able to support herself. Where will she live, and where will she work? Will she have to rely on her neighbors in Chinatown?” 

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 5, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students read Ecosystem Invaders by Nancy Morris with a Lexile level of 810. During the second read, students work on determining the Main Idea and Details. The Teacher Edition prompts the teacher to model finding the key details in the section titled “Upsetting the Balance” and then prompts the students to determine the main idea. The materials direct the teacher to prompt the students to find the main idea and details of another section titled “Good Pigs Gone Bad.”

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 1, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students read the informational text/myth, The Road To Democracy by Chandler Tyrell with a Lexile of 830. The Big Idea is “Why do we need a government?” The anchor text is accompanied by three Essential Questions for students to think about and/or answer throughout the week. The questions include: “What are some ways that people make decisions as a group? What ways are the easiest? What ways are the most fair?” On Day 4, students read the text multiple times with varied purposes, such as visualizing, fluency, rate, text features, and questioning. During the Inquiry portion of the lesson, students are prompted to develop their own research question around the Big Idea and Essential questions. The teacher is prompted to help students narrow their questions to make them more specific or to improve the possibility of research.

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.

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1e.

The materials provide some opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading. Each unit contains a variety of texts and genres, including an anchor text and a Science or Social Studies Connection, with many lessons containing a third text to support the anchor text. Students also have opportunities to read a variety of texts during small group instruction. The materials provide some supports and scaffolding for the teacher to foster independent reading; however, the prompts frequently focus on various comprehension strategies. The materials provide limited independent reading procedures. There is no independent reading accountability system available for the teacher or students to use, nor are there recommendations for the amount of time students should spend reading, or a suggested schedule to provide students adequate opportunities to engage in independent reading. 

Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading a variety of text types and genres. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Over the course of the year, students read a variety of genres including biographies, informational texts, myths, narrative nonfiction, legends, fantasies, historical fiction, realistic fiction, and poetry. Students also read a variety of text types including articles, excerpts, historical documents, plays, and songs.

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 4, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students read the informational text Amazing Animals by Karen E. Martin. In Unit 4, Lesson 4, Day 3, Reading and Responding, students read the poem “The Platypus” by Sharon Konkus. In Unit 4, Lesson 4, Day 4, Reading and Responding, students read the informational text “Animal Traits” for the Science Connection. 

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 2, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students read the biography Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown. In Unit 6, Lesson 2, Day 3, Reading and Responding, students read the poem “Jazz is Everywhere” by Maggie Smith-Beehler. In Unit 6, Lesson 2, Day 4, Reading and Responding, students read the informational text “Force” for the Science Connection. 

Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in a volume of reading. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Grade 3, students read 57 texts over the course of the year. Additionally, they listen to a read-aloud at the onset of each unit.

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 1, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students listen to the Read Aloud “Wind” from Weather Legends: Native American Lore and the Science of Weather from the Mi’kmaq Tribe. In Unit 2, Lesson 1, Day 2 Reading and Responding, students read the informational text Storm Chasers by Alanna Parker. In Unit 2, Lesson 1, Day 4, Reading and Responding, students read “Safety First” during the Social Studies Connection section in order to find connections to Storm Chasers. Students also read “The Big Storm” to look at vocabulary from the lesson.

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 1, during Reading and Responding, the teacher reads “A Call to War” aloud to students. Students think about questions as they listen to the story. On Day 2, students read the anchor text, The Road to Democracy by Chandler Tyrell. Students browse the selection before the teacher reads aloud and uses the Model and Prompt instructions for guided reading and responding. During fluency, students go back and read the first two pages of the selection pages 162-163 to practice accuracy.

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 1, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students listen to the read-aloud “The Panic Broadcast” (author not provided). In Unit 6, Lesson 1, Day 2 students read The Power of Music by Karen E. Martin. In Unit 6, Lesson 1, Day 4, Reading and Responding, students read “Fossils” for the Science Connection. 

There is limited teacher guidance to foster independence for all readers (e.g., independent reading procedures, proposed schedule, tracking system for independent reading). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The Teacher Edition provides the teacher with a scope and sequence and daily Reading and Responding lessons, to be used along with the Student Anthology Anchor text, Science or Social studies Connection, and Vocabulary stories.

  • The Resource Library contains “Challenge Novels” for students reading above-level, which gives additional novels for these students to read.  

  • Few independent reading procedures are included in the lessons.

    • The materials suggest that leveled reading passages are read independently with the On Level and Beyond Level passages. The Approaching Level readers are suggested to read in a small group with the teacher. Teachers are not provided step-by-step procedures for this portion of the lesson.

    • On Day 4 of each weekly lesson, within most units, during the Reading and Response portion, students are asked to read the anchor text a third time independently. Students are asked to read for specific information, such as, “Read specific parts of the story to identify ‘writer’s craft’ or to read the text all the way through.” 

  • In Grade 3, students have Decodable Take Home books that can be sent home for students to read independently. A parent letter explains reading the decodables at home. The Instructional Routine for reading a decodable story in class has students read a page silently and then read it aloud. They repeat this process throughout the book. The teacher asks questions about the book, so students reread with a partner. 

  • There is no proposed schedule for independent reading. Independent reading is embedded into daily lessons during multiple reads of anchor texts and fluency reads. 

  • There is no tracking system to help monitor independent reading. The Scope and Sequence provides information on the volume of reading done in class by students.

Criterion 1f - 1m

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

12/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The questions and tasks included in the Open Court Grade 3 materials include text-based questions and tasks coupled with protocols and opportunities for students to discuss and explore the materials they are reading. Students draw information from texts to support their discussions, including opportunities to question speakers and engage more deeply as listeners. 

The materials include frequent writing opportunities (both on-demand and process-driven) over the course of the year, however the on-demand opportunities infrequently require students to draw from the texts they are reading. Additionally, students are not provided frequent evidence-based writing opportunities outside of performance assessments. Students engage in editing and revision of their writing and use digital resources, when appropriate. While all writing types called for in the standards are taught in Grade 3,  there is a greater emphasis on informative/explanatory writing. 

The program includes explicit instruction in grammar usage and opportunities for students to practice grammar skills in-context. However, there is a missed opportunity for students to learn and practice using reference materials to support correct spelling.

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 materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for Indicator 1f.

The materials include multiple opportunities for students to engage with text-dependent questions and tasks. The materials provide text-dependent questions throughout the week through the Access Complex Text, Essential Questions, Text Connections, and Anchor and Supporting text within the Teacher Edition and Student Anthology Student Book. During the first read, most questions are addressed through teacher-led discussions, but move toward students writing the responses on Days 3 and 4. The materials provide comprehension questions in the Student Anthology that ask students to refer to the text to answer. The Teacher Edition provides prompts, modeling, and possible answers that show how to refer to the text to respond to questions. These prompts help the teacher plan and implement the use of text-dependent questions and tasks with their reading.

Text-specific and text-dependent questions and tasks support students in making meaning of the core understandings of the texts being studied. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 5, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read The Prairie Fire by Marilynn Reynolds. Under the Text Connection sections, students turn to the Students Anthology I to answer comprehension questions. Some examples of comprehension questions are, “Why is Percy not allowed to help his weather plow? Why does Percy’s father let him help fight the fire?” “How does Percy earn his parents’ respect? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.”

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, Day 2, during Reading and Responding Access Complex Text, students read the anchor text Seasons of Change by Elizabeth Bryant. Students reread the first two pages 180-181 of the selection in order to answer specific questions such as, “What activities does the author describe that are enjoyed in the fall?” Students reread pages 184-185 to answer text specific questions such as, “How are these two places different in the autumn? How else can we compare and contrast these two places?” 

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 3, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read The Overlanders by Jason D. Nemeth. During the Text Connections section, students answer comprehension questions based on the text. Questions included are, “What hardships does Ellie experience or see on the trip? Find evidence in the text that supports your answer.” “What does Ellie’s family have in common with Mei and Hng in ‘A New Life for Mei’ and the people who were part of the Great Migrations North in ‘The Harlem Renaissance?’”

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 3, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students read the anchor text Einstein Anderson and the Mighty Ants by Seymour Simon. According to the Discuss the Selection section, students engage in a discussion to answer the questions, “What does Stanley want to do? Why, according to Einstein and Paloma, is it not possible? How is Stanley’s scheme similar to and different from that of Dr. Raynes?” Additionally, during the Close Reading lesson on Day 2, students reread pages 54-55 to “compare and contrast Paloma and Einstein with Stanley including their likes and dislikes, and motivations. How do these differences contribute to the events of the story?” The Keys to Comprehension section includes text-specific questions such as, “According to Stanley, how would giant ants be a major benefit to our society? What does Stanley hope to become someday? How would raising giant ants help him reach his goal?”

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 2, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students are asked, “What is something else that voters vote for in this country, besides candidates to fill job positions?” On Day 4 students are asked, “What is the moral of ‘The Miller, His Son, and the Donkey’? What are the key details that convey this moral?”

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 2, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students read the anchor text Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Kathryn Russell-Brown. The Essential Questions include, “What role does natural talent play in a performer’s success? How does talent help a performer overcome adversity?” On Day 3 of the lesson, students have an opportunity to answer text-based questions through the Access Complex Text section focusing on the comprehension skill sequencing. Sample directions include, “Students reread pages 344-345 and construct a sequence of events that occur on these pages.” In addition, on Day 4 during the Writer’s Craft section, students take a closer look at the language of the selection. For example, “Students analyze examples of informal language on p. 336: “folk” and “All the hot music makers made sure they had a gig in KC.” Students are then asked what effect this language has on the reader as well as the tone it sets for the text.

Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation of text-based questions, tasks, and assignments. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students read Little Havana by Lana Cruce. During the Access Complex Text section, students work on making inferences. The Teacher Edition states these instructions for the teacher, “Have students stop reading after the third paragraph on page 37. Discuss as follows: Let’s go back to the text to see whether we can find out more about Marisa.” 

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 6, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students read Arbor Day Square by Kathryn O. Galbraith. The Teacher Edition provides a teacher prompt and possible answer. The teacher’s prompt states, “Katie seems very eager to help with tree planting. She patted down the soil around the trees, and here she is helping with the watering. Can you make a connection between Katie and Percy in ‘The Prairie Fire?’” The Teacher Edition provides the following possible answer, “Yes, both Percy and Katie really want to help the adults. Katie helps with the trees, and Percy helps put out the fire around his farm. Even though they are young, they want to help their families and communities make it in the West.”

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 5, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students read “Variation of Traits” passage in the Student Anthology book pages 112-113. Students answer the following questions with a partner, “How is this chart helpful? What physical traits do all of the dogs share? How does the Labradoodle take after each of its parents? Other than dogs, what are some examples of animals that humans breed?” The materials provide the DOK as well as possible answers.

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students read Marching with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women's Suffrage by Claire Rudolph Murphy. While working on making inferences, the Teacher Edition provides the following information for the teacher, “Have students reread page 243. Discuss inferences that can be made: On this page, we can infer some things about the characters and the setting of this story that the author does not say directly. First, notice that the women and girls at the tea call Susan B. Anthony “Aunt Susan,” even though she is not related to them. What does this detail help you to infer about Susan B. Anthony?” The materials also provide possible responses and follow-up questions. 

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 3, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read the text Marshall’s Role by Sam Estrada. During the Text Connection portion of the lesson, after students have spent two days engaged in the text, they answer the following questions through discussion or written response, “What jobs do the tech crew perform in Peter Pan? What do you think would happen if Marshall did not hand Luke his sword? In this selection you read about a play. What are some other kinds of stage performances you have read about in this unit? What kinds of responsibilities might tech crews have for these performances?” The Teacher’s Edition provides the following prompt for the teacher, “Read each question with the class. Call on various students to answer each question. Provide enough time for students to respond to each other’s questions and to ask new ones when relevant to the topic.” Possible answers are provided.

Indicator 1g

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for Indicator 1g. 

Materials provide opportunities for students to use speaking and listening skills to apply their knowledge with a partner or whole group class discussions. In the Resource Library,  teachers can find procedures for a variety of speaking and listening protocols, including Selection Vocabulary, Clues, Problems, and Wondering, Reading the Selection, Know, Want to Know, Learned, and Handing-Off. The materials provide explicit routines throughout each unit. Although there are explicit protocols, the protocols have only slight variations over the course of the year. Variations in complexity occur through different types of student discussions, an increase of student independence, and question complexity.

Materials provide varied protocols to support students’ developing speaking and listening skills across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Getting Started, Day 1, in the Reading and Responding section, students learn about the Discussion Rules. This routine is continued after the first read of the text selection of every lesson in the unit. In Unit 1, Lesson 1, Day 2, students review the general rules of discussion and the teacher models how to ask for clarification about a topic that is being discussed. As the year progresses, students take more responsibility during the discussion. They should connect conversations, explain their own ideas, clarify when necessary, summarize when appropriate, and ask additional questions. Discussion rules include:

    • Listen carefully as others speak. 

    • Do not interrupt a speaker. 

    • Raise their hands when they want to speak. 

    • Ask questions to get more information from a speaker. 

    • Respect others when they are speaking. 

    • Take turns speaking. 

    • Keep questions and responses focused on the idea that is being discussed.

  • The Know, Want to Know, Learned Routine supports students as they browse the story and encourages student discussion of possible things that may be learned, questions and connections to content or topic. 

  • The Handing-Off Routine is carried out in groups or with a partner, utilizing sentence stems for discussion such as: “I didn’t know that….” or “This selection made me think of…” or “I think this connects to the theme because…”. This routine encourages students to take control and lead the discussions, while the teacher periodically “checks in”. Over time, students are directed to take over more of the protocols and discussions as the teacher decreases their participation/scaffolding.

  • The Reading the Selection routine provides explicit teacher modeling of student expectations for before reading, during reading, and after reading, including speaking and listening protocols. The routine is as follows:

    Before Reading

    • Build background by sharing relevant information.

    • Have students browse the selection and set purposes using Clues, Problems, and Wonderings or What I know, What I Want to Know, What I Learned.

    • Teach or review the comprehension strategies that are being used during the reading of the selection. 

      During Reading

    • Model strategies (early in the year); prompt use of strategies (after strategies are taught); have students use strategies independently.

    • Have students stop periodically and check to see whether the text makes sense.

    • Use comprehension strategies such as clarifying and summarizing to support comprehension.

    • Reread the text applying Access Complex Text and Writer’s Craft skills.

      After Reading

    • Discuss the selection using “handing-off.” 

    • Make connections to other selections in the unit as well as to selections in other units.

    • Discuss what new information they learned.

    • Respond to the selection through writing.

    • Reuse and discuss Clues, Problems, and Wonders or What I Know, What I Want to Know, What I Learned. 

    • Introduce and discuss selection vocabulary. 

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 5, Day 1, students read Hot Enough to Fry an Egg by Raymond Huber. Under Discuss the Selection, the Teacher Edition provides the Handing-Off routine. The Teacher Edition states, “Review the general rules for discussions, such as speaking one at a time, listening respectfully, and staying on topic. Encourage them to build on each other’s conversations by connecting their comments to the comments of others. As the year progresses, students will take more responsibility during the discussion.” 

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 5, Day 1, students read The Dancing Bird of Paradise by Renée S. Sanford. In the Review the Selection section, students begin a KWL chart. During the Discuss the Selection, the Teacher Edition states, “Have students return to the KWL chart. Ask them whether they discovered what they wanted to know in the text. Then have them describe some of the things they have learned about Sahomi and the Japanese internment camps.” The materials include a completed KWL chart as well as a copy of Instruction Routine 13: Know, Want to Know, Learned.

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 3, Day 1, students browse Einstein Anderson and the Mighty Ants by Seymour Simon using the Clues, Problems, and Wonderings Routine. Throughout the reading, students use a graphic organizer to record any clues about the selection using text features such as charts, graphs, pictures or illustrations, list any possible problems anticipated (e.g., confusing sentences, unknown words), and record wonders about the selection in the third column of the graphic organizer Including connections to the theme or other stories. After reading, students review and discuss what they have written with the class.

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 5, Day 1, students read A World Tour in Song and Dance by Jack Stearns. Under Discuss the Selection,  the Teacher Edition provides the Handing-Off routine, including directions about moving students to take more responsibility during the discussion (e.g., connecting  conversations, explaining their own ideas, clarifying when necessary, summarizing when appropriate, and asking additional questions). 

Speaking and listening instruction includes facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The Program Overview provides general guidance on the facilitation of speaking and listening instruction. It states, “Listening and speaking skills are integrated throughout the lessons in Open Court Reading,” and then lists that the focus skills are “listening, speaking, interaction, and presenting information.” Throughout the program, tips are provided for the teacher to utilize when integrating these focus areas into classroom instruction including facilitating discussions, monitoring skills, and scaffolding support. 

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 5, Day 1, teacher guidance for speaking and listening states, “Engage students in a discussion by asking them the questions that follow. Review the general rules for discussions, such as speaking one at a time, listening respectfully, and staying on topic. Encourage them to build on each other’s conversations by connecting their comments to the comments of others. As the year progresses, students will take more responsibility during the discussion. They should connect conversations, explain their own ideas, clarify when necessary, summarize when appropriate, and ask additional questions.”

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 3, Day 3, students read Busy Buzzy Bees by Tanya Anderson and the vocabulary story “Comic Ideas.” The teacher uses Routine II, the Selection Vocabulary Routine that provides the teacher with support as students discuss the selection vocabulary. For example, materials state, “Remind students that the concept vocabulary word is biology. Have them discuss the question on page 69. What kinds of things would you learn about in a book or class about biology?”

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 materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for Indicator 1h. 

Throughout the year’s worth of materials, students have opportunities to discuss what they are reading through varied speaking and listening opportunities. Discussions are incorporated into all the lessons under the Discuss the Text section. Students engage in conversations throughout each unit through the Reading and Responding portion of the lesson plan. Opportunities can be found within Reading and Responding in Access Complex Text, Text Connections, Close Reading, Comprehension Strategies, Discuss the Selection, Look Closer, and Inquiry Steps. These opportunities vary depending on the lesson and day within each unit. Many comprehension questions ask the students to discuss their answers and provide follow-up and related questions. Students discuss the theme and the Big Ideas in relation to the texts they are reading. Speaking and listening work requires students to utilize, apply, and incorporate evidence from texts and sources. Many of the discussions ask for evidence from the text that students are reading in the lesson. Students orally deliver their findings from the research they conduct during the inquiry process. A rubric is provided to assist in expectations for both the speaker and listeners during presentations. During the inquiry process, the teacher and students ask follow-up questions related to texts previously read in the unit. 

Students have multiple opportunities over the school year to demonstrate what they are reading through varied speaking and listening opportunities. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 3, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read Tornadoes! by Gail Gibbons. Under Text Connections, students respond to a Did you Know? section. The section states, “On March 12, 2o06, a teenager from southwest Missouri was carried almost one-quarter mile by a tornado. And he lived to tell about it!” The Teacher Edition says, “Draw students’ attention to the Did You Know? information on page 218. As a class, discuss what this information means. Discuss what this experience must have been like for the teenager based on information students have learned about tornadoes and their power.” 

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 6, Day 5, during Reading and Responding,Theme Wrap-Up, students choose the reading selection they liked best in the unit and meet with a small group based on their selection. The group uses the rules for collaborative conversation to discuss prompts including a retelling of the selection, identification of what they learned about the communities from the selection, acknowledging another student’s comment by stating agreement or disagreement, and asking questions of other students about the selection to clarify their own understanding. The teacher wraps the discussion by asking questions related to the Essential Questions from the unit about why communities change over time, how community changes impact the nation as a whole, and what new information they learned about how communities change over time. 

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 4, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students read the science connection text “Under Pressure.” Students work with a partner to answer the questions, “What information does the numbered list contain? How does it present this information? Why do you think the stack of coins moved when it was hit by the pencil the first time?”

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 5, Day 2, in the Inquiry section, students choose how to present their findings from their Inquiry project focused on Art on the Move. Options for a final presentation include writing and staging a short play related to their conjecture and staging a panel discussion with audience participation. 

Speaking and listening work requires students to utilize, apply, and incorporate evidence from texts and/or sources. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students listen to the text Cesar Chavez. The teacher directs the students to listen for the major events in Cesar Chavez’s life as the story is read aloud. In addition, the Essential Questions frame the listening and discussion components before the read-aloud. Following the Read-Aloud, the teacher discusses the text with students using the following questions that require text-evidence in the students’ responses,  “What led Cesar Chavez to fight for workers’ rights? How was Cesar Chavez inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi? Was the strike against the grape farmers a success? Why or Why not?” 

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 3, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students discuss comprehension questions after rereading the text. They answer, for example, “What does Stanley hope to become someday? How would raising giant ants help him reach his goal?” Students are directed to cite evidence from the text to support their responses.

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students complete a second read of Marching with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage by Claire Rudolph Murphy. After the reading, students turn to page 260 in the Student Anthology book and locate Text Connections. Students read the questions and, at times, are asked specifically to use the text selection to explain their answer. The directions state,  “Recall what you read about majority rule in ‘Every Vote Counts.’ Was majority rule a fair way to govern before women had the right to vote? Explain your answer.” Another example asks students to refer to a certain page in the text to evaluate a character’s thoughts, “On page 249, Susan B. Anthony tells Bessie that, if women are able to vote, they will be able to pass laws that help adults and children. How did Bessie hope laws would help children?” The teacher is directed to call on each student to answer the questions and then provide time for students to respond to each other's questions and ask new ones when relevant.

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 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1i. 

The materials provide opportunities for both on-demand and process writing over the course of the year. On-demand opportunities are typically provided in the Reading and Responding section. Under the Look Closer section, students respond to a writing prompt located in the Student Anthology. Students also respond to prompts provided in the Skills Practice book that provide opportunities for on-demand writing. However, on-demand writing opportunities infrequently require students to draw upon the texts in the unit. Process writing, including revising and editing, occur during the Language Arts section of the lessons. The teacher models revising and editing and the students are given time to revise and edit their pieces.  The Skills Practice provides a revision and editing checklist for students. There are opportunities to use digital resources for typing, editing, and presenting throughout the materials. The Language Arts Handbook provides tips for writing on a computer.

Materials include on-demand writing opportunities that cover a year’s worth of instruction. However, on-demand writing opportunities infrequently require students to draw upon the texts in the unit. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students reread “Seasons of Change” and then compare and contrast winter in Colorado with winter in Kenya by using a Venn diagram to record similarities and differences between Colorado and Kenya. On Day 4, students answer the questions, “What would it be like to live in a place that does not have the same seasonal changes as where you live now? Describe how your life would be different.”

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 4, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students read The Dancing Birds of Paradise by Renée S. Sanford. Under the Look Closer section, students complete the writing activity by themselves, which states, “Imagine you are living back in 1942. Write an opinion newspaper article explaining why it is unfair to imprison loyal Japanese Americans at places like Tanforan and Topaz.” Students are not required or encouraged to draw upon the text to support their opinions.

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 1, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse” for the second time and use the Compare and Contrast Graphic Organizer to record details about the similarities and differences between the two characters or the two settings. Students write a short paragraph comparing and contrasting the characters or the settings.

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 2, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, Writer’s Craft, Point of View, after answering questions orally, students are asked to, “Write four or five sentences detailing whether they agree or disagree with the point of view expressed in the opening page. Have each student support his or her opinion by using evidence from the text, and by connecting opinion to reason using strong linking words and phrases such as because, since, and for example.”

Materials include process writing opportunities that cover a year’s worth of instruction. Opportunities for students to revise and edit are provided. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, Day 3, during the Language Arts block, students edit their opinion writing. The Teacher Edition provides a lesson for the teacher on verbs and verb phrases. After the Instruct and Guided Practice section, students work on the Apply section.The Teacher Edition states, “Have students look through their journals or previous writing assignments to find examples of verbs and verb phrases. Have students share their examples with a partner and have them check each other’s sentences for correct usage. Have students rewrite any incorrect use of verbs or verb phrases.”

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 4, Day 3, during the Language Arts block, students begin to generate a list of three or four broad topics to give an opinion about. Teachers guide the writing practice with skills practice by displaying an idea web or graphic organizer. Students apply the skill by completing the organizer. On Day 5, students are introduced to the TREE Diagram (Topic Sentence, Reasons, Explanation, Ending) and complete the TREE diagram for their opinion piece.

  • In Unit 2, during the Language Arts block, students work on informational writing pieces throughout the entire unit. For example, in Lesson 3, the teacher models informative/explanatory writing by first completing a graphic organizer with the class about composting. The teacher models the process throughout the week, with students practicing informative writing and going through the writing process. 

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 4, Days 2 and 3, during the Language Arts block, students work on an informative writing piece, revising on Day 2, and editing on Day 3. Students complete the writing process during the week-long lesson. Unit 2 materials include weekly practice of informative writing. Each writing piece takes students through the entire writing practice, including revising and editing.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 3, Day 3, during the Language Arts block,  students edit their narrative writing pieces. The Teacher Edition provides modeling for editing a narrative story, including a draft for the teacher to use. Under the Apply section, the Teacher Edition states, “Instruct students to edit their tall tales using the checklist on Skills Practice 1 page 180, as well as the list of suggested edits from their partner.” The Skills Practice page is included.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 5, Day 4, during the Language Arts block, students finish their draft of a fantasy story. The students complete a Skills Practice page to use action words and descriptive words. Under the Apply section, the Teacher Edition states, “Have students finish drafting their fantasy stories, using the feedback they received during the writers’ conference and the graphic organizer they used to plan their stories.” 

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 2, Days 2-3, during the Language Arts block, students compare and contrast two places in an informational writing. Students work through the entire writing process, with revising and editing taking place on Days 2 and 3.

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, Day 4, during the Language Arts block, students publish a summary. Under Instruct-- Publish a Summary, the Teacher Edition states, “Remind students that the final stop of the writing process is publishing. They will produce a final copy of their summary and present it to others.” 

  • In Unit 6, during Language Arts block, students again write an informative/explanatory essay comparing and contrasting two places. Students research and report on topics of choice. Students move through each step in the Writing Process including Prewriting, Drafting, Revising, Editing/Proofreading, and Publishing.

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 4, Day 3, during the Language Arts block, students are asked to revise their plot descriptions. Students revise to make sure that important events from the story are included. Students also revise for action verbs, adjectives, and specific language that identifies the elements of plot. Students are asked to focus their revisions on making precise word choices

Materials include digital resources where appropriate. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 5, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students work on Inquiry Step 5-Develop Presentations. The materials provide a variety of options for students to use for their presentations. One option includes creating a slideshow presentation. The Teacher Edition states, “To give students exposure to the way a slideshow program works, have them view the online TechTutor Video. Explain that a slideshow related to the way Native Americans respect nature through themes in their visual arts could involve showing shots of different examples of such visual arts, placed side-by-side with information about each art form and how it shows a respect for nature. Discuss the types of slides that could be used to display information.” The Tech Tutor video is included in the materials. 

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 1, Day 2 during the Language Arts block, students have the opportunity to research a topic before they begin planning. There are many sources they can use to find more information, such as print and digital encyclopedias, nonfiction books, and the Internet. Students refer to the Language Arts Handbook Sources page 262–263 for an overview of using sources for research.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 4, Day 4, during Reading and Responding/Social Studies Connection, in the After reading “Changing Culture” section, students work with a partner to answer questions, including the “Go Digital” question, “Research types of clothes people wore at different times and foods that people of different cultures eat.”

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 3, Day 3, during the Language Arts block, students work to publish their nonfiction piece. Under the Apply section, the Teacher Edition states, “Encourage students to create a clean copy of their writing by using a computer in the classroom or library to type their finalized work.”

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 materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1j.

The materials provide many opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply the required writing types; however, there is no balance among the required writing types across the year. Each six-week unit provides a Language Arts section that focuses on process writing. Students typically work on 4-5 pieces in the unit. The units often focus on a text type, such as opinion, but those text types come up again in other units, as well as with the on-demand writing prompts in the Reading and Response section. Students learn to write opinion statements, informative/explanatory texts (informative reports, descriptions, explanations, summaries, book reviews), and narrative texts (personal narratives, autobiographies, biographies, realistic stories, fairy tales). With multiple process writing prompts and on-demand writing prompts throughout each unit, there are sufficient writing opportunities to cover the course of a year. At times, writing assignments are connected to the texts.

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

  • Approximately 30% of the writing students do in Grade 3 is opinion writing. 

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, Day 2, during the Language Arts block, students begin prewriting their opinion piece. The Teacher Edition states, “Have students turn to Skills Practice I page 9. Explain to students the importance of choosing a purpose and an audience as part of the prewriting phase.” The Skill Practice page provides a space for students to write about their audience, their purpose, and then begin brainstorming ideas. In Unit 1, Lesson 2, Day 4, students publish their Opinion piece. In Unit 1, Lesson 2, Day 5, Language Arts, they begin prewriting for another opinion piece. 

    • In Unit 3, Lesson 5, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students respond to the Write prompt in their Student Anthology. The prompt states, “Imagine you are living back in 1942. Write an opinion newspaper article explaining why it is unfair to imprison loyal Japanese Americans in places like Tanforan and Topaz.” 

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 1, Day 3, during the Language Arts block, students begin drafting a persuasive piece. Under the Instruct section, the Teacher Edition states, “Remind students that they will need a topic sentence that tells their opinion, three reasons why the reader should agree with the opinion, a further explanation for each reason, and a concluding statement that sums up the opinion.” 

  • Approximately 43% of the writing in Grade 3 is informative/explanatory writing. 

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 5, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students respond to the Write section in their Student Anthology. The prompt states, “Write a guide for how you can equip yourself and your home to stay safe from a fire. Include illustrations to help the reader visualize what they will need.” 

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 4, Day 4, during the Language Arts block, students begin writing a summary. During the Guided Reading section, the Teacher Edition states, “Display one of your finished models of writing to inform from Unit 2. Ask students to guide you in completing the graphic organizer. Remind students that they do not need to write in complete sentences when they are taking notes.” 

  • Approximately 26% of the writing in Grade 3 is narrative writing. 

    • In Unit 3, Lesson 5, Day 3, during the Language Arts block, students begin drafting a fantasy story for their narrative. Under the Apply section, the teacher writes goals on the board including, “The plot has a beginning, middle, and end” and “Include details to tell the reader when and where the story takes place.” In Unit 3, Lesson 6, Day 4 Language Arts students publish their fantasy narrative. 

Where appropriate, writing opportunities are connected to texts and/or text sets (either as prompts, models, anchors, or supports). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 2, Day 3, during the Language Arts block, students begin prewriting a tall tale. During the Guided Practice section, the materials state, “Direct students to work in pairs, either by assigning partners or having students choose their own partners. Choose a tall tale from previous readings, or choose a tall tale from the classroom library. Have partners list examples of exaggerations and unlike characters, settings, or events in the tall tale.” 

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 2, Day 2, during the Language Arts block, students start the prewriting for their Respond to Nonfiction piece. The Instruct section in the Teacher Edition states, “Tell students that they will be writing a response to the Unit 5 Lesson 1 reading selection ‘The Road to Democracy.’ Explain that writing a response to a fiction or nonfiction text is a way to share what they have learned with others or to explore their thoughts and feelings about what they read.”

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 5, Day 3, during the Language Arts block, students write a biography after reading the biography “Little Melba and Her Big Trombone” by Katheryn Russell Brown. Students are directed to that story as a model.

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 materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1k. 

The materials provide limited opportunities for students to write using text evidence. Opportunities for evidence-based writing typically occur during research projects. Often, students are asked to discuss, answer or work with a partner, but the materials do not explicitly state that students are to respond with a written answer or a written answer using text evidence. Within every formal assessment in the Reading and Responding section, students answer a constructed-response question that asks them to use evidence from the text; however, there are few opportunities for students to explicitly practice a text-based written response before the assessment. The “Getting Started” week in Unit 1 provides more explicit instruction for students to write using text evidence; however, the rest of the unit does not include the same explicit instruction, leaving the teacher to make assumptions that the text-based evidence discussions should also be responded to in writing.  Additionally, many of the tasks and questions do not require text-based evidence. Students are often asked to write in response to a broad topic that does not require a response based on text evidence. 

Materials provide infrequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Getting Started, Days 2-4, during Language Arts, there is a Writing About the Selection activity each day that connects with the selection students have been reading, “Robinson Crusoe.” The directions state, “Tell students they are going to write a paragraph that describes Robinson Crusoe. Explain that they must use evidence from the text, such as Crusoe’s thoughts and actions, to support their statements and opinions about him.” On Day 5, students write a summary about the Social Studies Connection text. However, after this first week, there does not appear to be a Writing About the Selection task. The Language Arts section for the Teacher Edition begins process writing, which is practiced throughout the school year in this block.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 1, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students are asked to complete a Write activity on their own in the Student Anthology. The prompt is connected to the text’s characters, Hong and Mei. In Unit 3, Lesson 3, Day 4, the Write Activity is not text-dependent and asks students to, “Write a message to a friend about a trip you took. Where did you go? How long did it take? What did you do on your trip?”

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 2, Day 5, during Reading and Responding, students complete a formal assessment. One of the prompts on the assessment states, “Read the question below. Write complete sentences for your answers. Support your answer with evidence from the selection.” The question states, “Who were the providers in the story? How did they provide for others?” 

Few writing opportunities are focused around students’ recall of information to develop opinions from reading closely and working with evidence from texts and sources. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 3, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students respond to the writing prompt after reading the text Damon and Pythias by Brian Dalton. The writing prompt states, “The poems and the story give a lot of examples of duties. Make a list of the duties you have.” While this prompt references the texts read, students are not directed to use evidence from the text to support their writing. 

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 5, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students reread portions of “Hot Enough to Fry an Egg” in order to look at what makes the writing strong. Students respond to a writing prompt, “Make a list of supplies you would need if you were traveling through one of the deserts you have read about. Make sure you take into account the weather conditions of whichever desert you choose.” Directions do not require use of text evidence for writing.

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 4, Day 1, during Language Arts, students begin prewriting for their response to literature. Under the Apply section, the Teacher Edition states, “Instruct students to complete Skills Practice 2 page 193 to map the events in the stories they have chosen. They will write the events in the plot that help explain the problem, develop the problem as the action rises, and so on.” A graphic organizer is included. Directions do not explicitly state that students need to use evidence from the text to support their writing.

Indicator 1l

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1l.

Materials provide explicit instruction of most grade-level grammar and usage standards through the Instruct and Guided Practice sections within Language Arts. The materials lack opportunities for students to learn how to consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings. Materials provide the teacher with explicit instruction and examples. Materials provide opportunities for students to demonstrate the application of skills in context, including applying grammar and convention skills to writing through the Skills Practice pages, Writing assignments, and the Apply sections for Word Analysis and Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics of the Teacher Edition.

Materials include explicit instruction of most grammar and usage standards for the grade level. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Students have opportunities to learn the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences.

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, Day 5, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics, Verbs and Verb Phrases Review, materials prompt the teacher to review action verbs, state-of-being verbs, and verb phrases with students. Materials state: “Ask students to explain the functions of verbs in sentences. A verb or verb phrase tells the action, condition, or state of being of the subject.”

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 3, Day 4, Guided Practice, students provide examples of nouns and verbs from what they are reading. The materials include possible answers for nouns: dog, Noah, school, Ming, Lizzy; and verbs: walked, raked, sang. The teacher writes the examples from the students on the board. The teacher makes sentences using nouns and verbs from the list and has students identify the complete subject and the predicate in each sentence.

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 5, Day 4, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics, Pronouns, the teacher models replacing nouns with pronouns. Materials state: “Write the following sentences on the board. Model replacing nouns with pronouns in each sentence. Sharon is investigating wildlife in Belize. She is investigating wildlife in Belize. Noah flew the plane. He flew it. Remind students that subject pronouns replace nouns used as subjects, possessive pronouns show ownership, and object pronouns can be used in place of direct object nouns. Tell students that a pronoun must agree in number and gender with the noun it replaces.”

    • In Unit 3, Lesson 4, Day 3, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics, Adjectives, the teacher writes sentences on the board and points out the adjectives. (Eli put the largest book on the shelf. The girl with curly hair waited in line.) The teacher explains that adjectives tell information about a noun or pronoun and that adjectives tell how something looks, feels, smells, sounds, or tastes and how many, how much, and which one. Students add a description to writing that would help readers visualize.

    • In Unit 3, Lesson 5, Day 3, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics, Adverbs, the teacher writes the following sentences on the board and points out the adverbs: Carefully put the flowers and water in the vase, and then put the vase on the table. carefully, then We will go to the park tomorrow, but it is supposed to rain tomorrow. Materials state: “Explain to students that adverbs are words that describe a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Adverbs tell how, when, where, or how much something happens. Many adverbs end with the suffix -ly. Some words that end in -ly are not adverbs. Adverbs can be placed before a verb, after a verb, at the beginning of a sentence, or at the end of a sentence.”

  • Students have opportunities to learn from and use regular and irregular plural nouns. 

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 4, Day 3, Developing Oral Language, the teacher points to one of the words on the word lines and asks students to explain the rule for how the plural was formed. Students name other nouns. The teacher asks a volunteer to say and spell the singular form of a noun on the word lines and use it in a sentence. The teacher has another student use the plural form in another sentence. I thought I saw a bird sitting in our rose bush. Bushes are good hiding places for birds.

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, Day 3, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics, Regular and Irregular Plural Nouns, Instruct, the teacher writes sentences on the board and points out the plural nouns in each sentence. Sentences include, Flies buzzed around the garbage can. Several cars pulled over during the storm. The people on the bus began to sing. Aunt Sally gave Luther two kisses on his cheeks. A group of calves wandered through the field. The teacher reminds students that a noun names a person, place, or thing and explains that a plural noun names more than one person, place, or thing. 

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to use abstract nouns (e.g., childhood).

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, Day 3, Word Analysis, About the Words, Abstract Nouns, the teacher explains that the nouns in these lines name feelings or concepts. They are things that cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted. The teacher discusses the meaning of the following words with students: wisdom, freedom, pride, idea, talent, strength, grief, childhood. In About the Sentences, students identify the abstract nouns in the sentence: You must know that trust is an important part of any friendship.

    • In Unit 3, Lesson 1, Day 5, materials state: “Review with students that abstract nouns are nouns that cannot be experienced with the five senses. They are concepts, ideas, and feelings. Write or display the following sentences on the board. Underline the abstract nouns as shown. Sentences include: The dog was in misery as the cold rain soaked his fur. Carson made a promise to visit his grandma once a week. Jenna’s loyalty to the basketball team did not surprise me.

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to form and use regular and irregular verbs.

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, Day 3, Word Analysis, Irregular Verbs, and Abstract Nouns Decoding, the teacher reviews with students that most verbs follow a regular pattern when changing tense that involves adding -ed. Materials state, “For example, the present, past, and past participle forms of open can be found in these sentences: Open this letter now. My aunt opened her own store last year. The bank has opened for the day. Some verbs have irregular past and participle forms with different spellings or no change in spelling.”

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, Day 4, Word Analysis, Irregular Verbs and Abstract Nouns Developing Oral Language, the teacher gives students the present tense of any of the words in Lines 1 and 2 and asks them to describe how the word is changed to form the past tense. The materials state, “The past tense of forget is formed by changing the e to an o. Words: Line 1 - bring, brought, catch, caught Line 2 - shut, forget, forgot, forgotten”

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to form and use the simple (e.g., I walked; I walk; I will walk) verb tenses.

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 5, Day 3, Guided Practice, the materials state, “Display the following sentences on the board, and have students correct the mistakes in verb tense. Sentences include: Yesterday I watch a dog doing tricks at the park. I watched a dog doing tricks at the park. The children were putting on a play next week. The children will be putting on a play next week.

    • In Unit 3, Lesson 1, Day 5, Word Analysis, the class identifies any verbs in the past or progressive tense from a list of words.

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 5, Day 3, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics, Pronouns, Apply, students take turns writing sentences on the board. For each sentence, another student replaces the subject, possessive noun, or direct object with an appropriate pronoun.

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 3, Day 1, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Subject/Verb Agreement and Pronoun/Antecedent Agreement, Guided Practice, the materials state, “Students are to point out the simple subject and verb in sentences written on the board and identify if the sentence has subject/verb agreement. Example: The sun rises each morning. subject: sun; verb: rises; Both are singular, so the sentence has subject/verb agreement.”

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.

    • In Unit 3, Lesson 2, Day 4, Word Analysis Comparatives and Superlatives Developing Oral Language, the teacher organizes students into small groups to think of adjectives and adverbs in comparative and superlative form, and then use them in complete sentences. Volunteers read the sentences to the class and choose the correct form or the incorrect form. The rest of the class indicates whether the word is correct or incorrect and says the entire sentence correctly.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 1, Day 4, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Comparative and Superlative Adjectives and Adverbs, Apply, materials state: “Students write one sentence with a comparative or superlative adjective and one sentence with a comparative or superlative adverb. Students trade papers with a partner. Partners check the sentences for correct use of comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs and make any needed corrections.”

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 4, Day 5, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Compound Subjects and Predicates, the teacher reviews compound subjects and predicates with students reminding them that a compound subject is two or more subjects joined by a conjunction and a compound predicate is two or more predicates joined by a conjunction. The teacher writes pairs of sentences on the board, and students rewrite each pair into a single sentence with a compound subject and predicate.

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 4, Day 5, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics, Apply, materials state: “Each student writes three complex sentences. At least one of the complex sentences should contain a preposition and prepositional phrase. Students exchange sentences with partners and the partners identify the subordinate conjunctions and preposition(s) in the sentences, as well as the verb tense of each sentence. Volunteers share their best sentences with the class.”

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to produce simple, compound, and complex sentences.

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 1, Day 1, the teacher has students use the words from the word lines in sentence starters. For example: In preschool, the students… The teacher then has volunteers expand each sentence by adding more details to demonstrate the meaning of the word. In preschool, the students learn some of the things they’ll need to know for elementary school.

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 5, Day 2, Word Analysis, Developing Oral Language, a student uses two words from a list in a simple sentence. Another student expands the sentence by adding another word from the list, creating complex or compound sentences when possible. This is repeated until the sentence contains as many words from the word list as possible.

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to capitalize appropriate words in titles.

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 5, Day 3, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics, Apply, the teacher has students create one sentence that has a title and one sentence that contains dialogue. The teacher has students exchange their papers with a partner, and the partners check to make sure the punctuation is correct. Students correct any mistakes.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 3, Day 5, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Capitalization and Commas—Dates, Cities and States, Addresses, Titles Review, students review capitalization and commas in dates, addresses, cities and states, and book titles. Materials state, “Remind students to capitalize the first word, last word, and all important words in a book title. Write the following sentences on the board. Have students triple-underline letters that should be capitalized. Ms. Sanchez’s favorite novel is Charles Dickens’s a tale of two cities. Ms. Sanchez’s favorite novel is Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities.”

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to use commas in addresses.

    •  In Unit 4, Lesson 3, Day 4, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics, the teacher guides students to write three sentences: one that includes the name of a city and state; one that consists of a book title; and one that includes an address. Students exchange sentences with a partner and check the sentences for correct capitalization and commas usage. Volunteers share their sentences with the class. 

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 5, Day 4, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics, Guided Practice, the teacher writes the following sentence on the board: Zoe and her mother lives at 1528 maplewood street in taos new Mexico. The teacher has volunteers rewrite the sentence to correct mistakes in subject/verb agreement, commas, and capitalization.

  • Students have opportunities to use commas and quotation marks in dialogue.

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 5, Day 3, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Quotation Marks, Commas, Capitalization Instruct, the teacher writes sentences on the board. The teacher points out the commas and quotation marks in the sentences. For example, “Ross said, “Charlotte agreed to go to the movies with me.” We read the poem “Two Best Friends.” Materials state: “Explain to students that quotation marks set off the exact words of one character or speaker from another.”

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 2, Day 3, Narrative Writing, the teacher writes a sentence on the board, and students guide the teacher in rewriting it as dialogue. The class discusses why the dialogue is better than the original sentence.

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to form and use possessives.

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 1, Day 3, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Possessive Nouns and Pronouns, Instruct, the teacher displays sentences from the ePresentation Resources. The materials state, “Point out the possessive nouns in the sentences. Kayla’s bicycle was parked near a tree. The puppies’ noses felt cool and damp. puppies’ The children’s parents attended the concert. Children's.” The teacher explains that possessive nouns and pronouns show ownership and explains where to add the apostrophe based on if the noun is singular or plural.

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 2, Day 2, Word Analysis, students use the words from the word lines in sentence starters. For example, The principal’s office is . . . Volunteers expand each sentence by adding more details to demonstrate the meaning of the possessive. 

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness).

    • In Unit 3, Lesson 2, Day 1, Word Analysis, Dictation and Spelling, the teacher uses Routine 8, the Sentence Dictation Routine, to dictate the sentence. The teacher says the sentence and then dictates one word following Routine 7, the Whole-Word Dictation Routine. The sentence says,  We could hear the booming sound all over town.

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 2, Day 2, Word Analysis, Dictation and Spelling, the teacher uses Routine 7, the Whole-Word Dictation Routine, to dictate the words for students to write. Words include embodies and engraving.

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, Day 1, Dictation and Spelling, the teacher uses Routine 7, the Whole-Word Dictation Routine, to dictate the words for students to write. Materials state, “The teacher says each word, uses the word in a sentence and then repeats the word. Students say the word and think about each sound they hear. Students write the word, referencing the Sound/Spelling Cards as needed. After each line, the teacher displays the words and sentences to the students and has them proofread their work. Students are told to circle any incorrect words and rewrite them correctly. Words: data, tame, blaze, wild, fire, slide, poster, spoken, awoke, grateful, item, over.”

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 2, Day 3, Dictation and Spelling, the teacher uses Routine 7, the Whole-Word Dictation Routine, to dictate the words for students to write (from the ePresentation resources containing prefixes dis- and auto-). The teacher uses Routine 8, the Sentence Dictation Routine, to dictate the sentence. Materials state, “Remind students to use appropriate capitalization and punctuation. After each line, display the words and sentences to the students. Have students proofread their work and tell students to circle any incorrect words and rewrite them correctly.”

  • Students have no opportunities to learn how to consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

    • No evidence found. 

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to choose words and phrases for effect.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 1, Day 3, Developing Oral Language, the teacher will say a word or words to describe the kind of responses required. For example, the teacher says, “you could use the words negative and positive. Share the following examples with students: Negative: There is absolutely no way I would ever want something like that! Positive: Of course! I would absolutely love to have something like that! Point out that even though you used the word absolutely in both statements, the two statements have very different meanings. Students identify which words and phrases help make the different meanings. Choose other words, or have students make up responses to the words negative and positive.”

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 2, Day 3, Narrative Writing, students continue writing their drafts. The teacher reminds students to look for places in their stories where dialogue could be used to show the actions, thoughts, and feelings of their characters. The teacher explains that reading their dialogue aloud can help them sound more realistic. If students are writing fantasy stories, it is pointed out that even non-human or non-realistic characters should have realistic dialogue.

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to recognize and observe differences between the conventions of spoken and written standard English.

    • In Unit 3, Lesson 3, Day 3, Read the Song, Language Use: Informal Language, the teacher asks students whether the language of a song seems formal or informal and why. The teacher reminds students that this is an actual song that became quite popular and asks them if that fact helps explain why the language is so informal. The teacher asks students how they think the song would be different if it were written down in a formal tone.

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, Day 2, Inquiry, when preparing to write a presentation, the teacher explains to students some of the differences between the conventions of spoken and written English and tells them that when they are writing papers, especially informative papers, that their writing will be more formal. The teacher goes on to point out to them that, There are certain things we say in English that we would not write out. For example, the contraction would've. If they were writing a paper, they should spell it out as would have. But it is very common to speak that contraction.” Students are told that as they write their scripts they should make an effort to recognize some of these differences between written and spoken English. 

Materials include opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills in context, including applying grammar and convention skills to writing. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 3, Day 5, students create five sentences. Students switch papers with a partner and circle the subjects and underline the predicates in their sentences. Partners work together to make corrections as needed.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 5, Day 3, Narrative Writing: Drafting, Apply, students begin drafting their fantasies. Students use the graphic organizers to guide their writing and keep in mind the following goals as they write, “Include vivid and interesting adjectives and adverbs; Be sure to use the correct homophone; The plot has a beginning, middle, and end; Include details to tell the reader when and where the story takes place.”

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 2, Day 1, Word Analysis, Guided Practice, Skills Practice 2, pages 171-172, students write contractions and possessives for words in sentences.

Indicator 1m

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

2/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for Indicator 1m. 

The materials provide an outline for a year-long vocabulary component. The Scope and Sequence provides the vocabulary words for each lesson. Lessons contain concept vocabulary that relates to the unit theme as well as selection vocabulary found in the mentor text. The selection vocabulary words are also included in a vocabulary story, in which keywords are used and highlighted throughout the text in the Student Anthology Book. The Social Studies and Science Connection texts contain some of the selection vocabulary words as well. Students discuss vocabulary words together in class and write sentences using vocabulary words in the Skills Practice book. In the Language Arts portion of the materials, students are encouraged to use their new vocabulary in writing. 

Materials provide teacher guidance outlining a cohesive year-long vocabulary development component. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Section 4 of the Language Arts Handbook examines a series of vocabulary skills in the form of mini-lessons for students to learn, practice, and apply to their writing. 

  • The Selection Vocabulary Routine provides guidance and support for student instruction which is referenced throughout the year: The routine is as follows:

    • Develop Vocabulary: Display the vocabulary words, pronunciations, and parts of speech. For each vocabulary word, discuss the definition. Have students use the context in the selection or the parts of the word to verify the meaning of the word. Provide examples and clarification as needed. 

    • Practice Vocabulary: As a class, review the selection vocabulary words by completing the vocabulary activity orally. Have students complete the vocabulary Skills Practice individually.

    • Apply vocabulary: Have students read the vocabulary story in Skills Practice. Review the selection vocabulary words and discuss the new forms of the words and any meanings that may have changed. Discuss the Concept Vocabulary Word and its connection to the theme.

    • Extend Vocabulary: As a class, complete the Extend Vocabulary Activity to help students expand their understanding of the selection vocabulary words. If applicable, complete the Multiple-Meaning Words activity to help students identify and understand the multiple-meaning vocabulary words.

    • Review Vocabulary: Complete the vocabulary activity to help students review the words. Provide examples and clarification as needed.

  • The activities in the Intervention Guide can be used to develop and reinforce vocabulary. If students struggle to comprehend the meaning of vocabulary words, it is recommended to develop student-friendly definitions before proceeding with reinforcing activities. Reinforcing activities are grouped by general activities as well as category-specific activities for position words, naming words, action words, descriptive words, and listening, speaking, and viewing.

Vocabulary is repeated in contexts (before texts, in texts) and across multiple texts. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 3, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students are introduced to the selection vocabulary under Develop Vocabulary. The teacher displays the words, reads over them, and then students use context clues to determine the meaning of the words in the text Damon and Pythias by Brian Dalton. The materials state, “Tell students they can use the Vocabulary Strategy Context Clues to figure out the meaning of the word pardon on page 63. Context Clues are hints in the text that help readers find the meaning of words.” The class works together to practice this skill with the rest of the vocabulary. In Unit 1, Lesson 3, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students complete the Apply Vocabulary selection by reading “Volunteering for a Race” and discussing how the same vocabulary words are used in this selection. 

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 2, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students read from the selection The Harlem Renaissance by Matthew Gollub. Before they start reading, the teacher points out that the Concept Vocabulary Word for this lesson is renaissance. The Teacher Edition directs, “Tell them that, in general, renaissance means ‘a renewal of activity, interest, or enthusiasm about something.’ Have students discuss how they think the word renaissance relates to the theme.” After the first part of the reading, the teacher reminds the students of the word renaissance and again discusses its meaning and how it relates to this section of the text. The teacher reviews other vocabulary words highlighted in the reading, including adventure, fame and international. In Unit 3, Lesson 2, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students read “Migrations” for the Social Studies connection. This text contains the selection vocabulary words adventure and international, both of which are highlighted in the text and carried over from The Harlem Renaissance.

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 4, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students learn about the concept vocabulary in the Build Background section. The concept vocabulary is Checks and Balances. Students read the text How Congress Works by Philip Jackson and complete the Discuss the Selection section. The Teacher Edition states, “Remind students that the concept vocabulary term for this selection is checks and balances. Give them the definition again and ask them to discuss how this phrase was used in this selection.” After reading the Social Studies connection text, “State Governments,” students respond to the question, “Why are checks and balances important at any level of government?” 

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

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 5, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students read the Social Studies Connection “Civic Ideals.” In this selection, three of the unit vocabulary words appear: homesteads, guard, and douse. The word homesteads is used to discuss living conditions in the 1800s.

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 4, Day 3, the Vocabulary Story connects with the overall theme of extreme weather while calling students’ attention to key vocabulary words that can be seen across various content areas. For example, the Apply Vocabulary Story, “Watching the Weather,” lists and highlights specific content vocabulary words: accurate, concern, instruments, meteorologist, minimize, threat. Each word is highlighted in yellow within the text. In addition, students read and apply vocabulary using the “Extend Vocabulary” word web in the writer’s Notebook. For example, students place the word accurate in the center and list all the antonyms and synonyms for that word. They continue this activity with each highlighted word.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 6, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students work with the concept vocabulary under the Build Background section. The concept vocabulary for this lesson is tradition. Students connect this vocabulary word to the theme, A Changing Nation. In Unit 3, Lesson 6, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students answer comprehension questions on the text Arbor Day Square by Kathryn O. Galbraith. One of the comprehension questions states, “How does their Arbor Day tradition help bring the community together? Use evidence from the text to explain your answer.” 

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 2, Day 3, “Running the Distance” Vocabulary Story in the Student Anthology Book, students are directed to take a careful look at the words, definition and parts of speech.. Students are asked to pay close attention to each word and how it is used in the selection. Students may want to compare and contrast the original word and definition with the parts of speech and the new definitions. The Concept Vocabulary Word is dependence.  The materials ask the students, “Where do you see examples of dependence at school and in your community? Discuss the story with the class and complete the Extend Vocabulary activity. Using a word web, fill in the words related to the word dependence.”

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students read the Social Studies Connection text “Educational Progress.” This story contains the selection vocabulary words, factories and powers. In the Extend Vocabulary section, students answer questions about the vocabulary words such as, “If you have power, can you influence a lot or very little?” 

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 2, Day 3 during Reading and Responding, Apply Vocabulary, students are reminded of the concept word groundbreaking. Students discuss the question, “What are some ideas or inventions that you would call groundbreaking?” During the Extend Vocabulary section, students respond to the question, “Some words, such as thrill, describe an effect on one’s state of mind. How is the effect described by thrill different from the effect described by these synonyms: grip, delight, exhilarate, inspire?”

Students are supported to accelerate vocabulary learning with vocabulary in their reading, speaking, and writing tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In the Program Overview, Vocabulary, directions state that after reading, “Students review any interesting words they identified and discussed during reading. They record these words in their Writer’s Notebooks and are encouraged to use these words in their discussions and in writing.” Students can also use the words in a variety of oral and written activities. Vocabulary review activities are found regularly throughout the lesson.

  • Visual Vocabulary can be found in the Resource Library. This activity allows students to see and hear the word in the form of a flash card. Students are given the pronunciation of the word, part of speech, definition, and how the word is used in context. In addition, students see the word and an image that can be connected to the word.

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 6, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students complete a Skill Practice assignment under Practice Comprehension. Within the Vocabulary portion, students practice with vocabulary words from the selection. Sentences are provided with the option of two words to complete the sentence. The materials state, “Circle the vocabulary word that best completes each sentence.” 

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 1, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students identify Domain-Specific Vocabulary during Workshop. Students look up the weather-related terms air pressure, temperature, and humidity in a dictionary or the glossary of a science text. Students explain the meanings of the terms in their own words and identify words that may be useful in the text selection.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 5, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read “A Hot Performance” under Apply Vocabulary. The Teacher Edition states, “Remind students that the Concept Vocabulary Word is inheritance. Have them discuss the question, ‘What are some examples of things that people can inherit? Is an inheritance ever something other than an object?’” In the Student Anthology, the Extend Vocabulary activity provides an example word web and the directions state, “Copy the word web into your Writer’s Notebook. Fill it in with the words related to delicate, including antonyms, synonyms, and related words.”

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 4, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students use the Student Anthology to complete the Apply Vocabulary section. The directions state, “Read the story. Then discuss it with your class.” Students complete the Extend Vocabulary section which directs them to answer a question about the vocabulary words. There is also a Concept Vocabulary prompt that states, “Think about the word symbol. What are some symbols you know? What do they stand for?”

Criterion 1n - 1p

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

4/8
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Criterion Rating Details

Materials contain explicit instruction of phonics, word recognition, and word analysis across the year. Assessment opportunities are provided multiple times throughout Grade 3 to inform instructional adjustments of phonics, word recognition, and word analysis to help students make progress toward mastery; however, materials lack direct, explicit information on how to provide intervention for each assessment. 

Students have a variety of opportunities to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills within the foundational skills-related materials, including the decodable stories. However, there is no support for students to then apply those skills within the anchor texts that are found in the Reading and Responding lessons. The materials provide ample opportunities for students to practice and demonstrate oral reading fluency, however there is a lack of support for the teacher to make instructional adjustments for students to assure they are progressing in their fluency skills.

Indicator 1n

Materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level foundational skills by providing explicit instruction in phonics, word analysis, and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1n.

Materials contain explicit instruction of phonics and word recognition consistently over the course of the year. The Scope and Sequence includes a Foundational Skills section showing Phonics and Decoding, High Frequency Words, Fluency, and Word Analysis. The Program Overview indicates that the focus shifts from phonics to word analysis in Grade 3. Tasks and questions are sequenced to the application of grade-level work through Student Skills pages and ePresentation Resources of word lists and sentences. There are multiple assessment opportunities in the Assessment Book, Diagnostic Assessment Book, and The Benchmark Assessment. There is a Teacher Resource Book with interventions, but it is not cross-referenced with each individual assessment. There is a lack of direct, explicit information on how to provide intervention for each assessment.

Materials contain explicit instruction of phonics, word recognition, and word analysis consistently over the course of the year. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to identify and know the meaning of the most common prefixes and derivational suffixes.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 2, Day 1, Word Analysis Suffixes -ful and -less, the materials state: “Teacher reviews with students that derivational suffixes are word parts added to the end of base words. They can change the meaning and part of speech of the base word. Remind students that knowing the meanings of common suffixes will help them define unfamiliar words that contain these suffixes. Use Routine 10, the Words with Prefixes and Suffixes Routine, to review using suffixes to understand words.”

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 1, Day 3, Word Analysis, the teacher reviews what a prefix is and that a prefix does not affect the spelling of the base word. Routine 10, Words with Prefixes and Suffixes Routine is used during the review. In About the Words, students read words with the prefixes con- and in-/im-.

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to decode words with common Latin suffixes.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 2, Day 5, Word Analysis, students review and decode a list of 16 words that include suffixes -ful and -less and Latin suffixes -able and -ity.

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 4, Day 1, Word Analysis Review: Latin Suffixes -ment, -ive, -ity, and -able, the materials state: “The teacher reviews with students that derivational suffixes are word parts added to the ends of base words that change their meaning, part of speech, and often spelling. The teacher reminds students that suffixes are derived from ancient languages such as Latin. Use Routine 10, the Words with Prefixes and Suffixes Routine, to review using suffixes to understand words.” Students complete Skills Practice 2. 

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to decode multisyllable words.

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, Day 1, Phonics and Decoding, the teacher reviews long e spelled e and e-e and long u spelled u and u-e using Sound/Spelling Cards 28 and 31. The teacher uses Routine 4, the Closed Syllable Routine, to review dividing words with a VCCV pattern and uses Routine 5, the Open Syllable Routine, to review dividing words with the VCV pattern. Students read the words on the word lines from the ePresentation Resources by blending the sounds in each syllable then blending the syllables together. Words include even, zebra, secret, meter.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 6, Day 4, Word Analysis, students review and decode a list of 16 multisyllable words such as humid, blizzard, hurricane, temperature.

  • Students have opportunities to learn how to read grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words.

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 4, Day 2, Reading a Decodable Story, the teacher reviews that through is an irregularly spelled word and helps students with its pronunciation as necessary. 

    • In Lesson 4, Day 3, Irregular Plurals, Decoding, students review words on the word lines that do not follow the standard rules for forming plural nouns, including cacti, fungi, octopi, and stimuli.

All tasks and questions are sequenced to application of grade-level work (e.g., application of prefixes at the end of the unit/year; decoding multi-syllable words). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Units 1-3, students learn to read multisyllabic words with various syllable types. In Unit 4, students learn to read words with suffixes, including Latin suffixes. In Unit 5, students learn to read words with prefixes. In Unit 6, students review the various syllable types, prefixes, and suffixes within multisyllabic words.

  • The Resource Library, Scope and Sequence includes a Foundational Skills section with Phonics and Decoding, High Frequency Words, Fluency, and Word Analysis. The Scope and Sequence outlines the foundational skills instruction over the course of the year. The materials consistently provide opportunities for students to participate in explicit instruction of foundational skills, guided practice, and application during the Apply the Concept section using Skills Practice pages, Takehome decodables, and ePresentations. 

  • The Resource Library, Program Overview, Grades 2-3, page 23, notes that the emphasis shifts from phonics to morphology. In SRA Open Court Reading, this is called Word Analysis. Students learn to identify and read meaningful chunks of words rather than individual spellings. Word Analysis also supports vocabulary development. Students learn how inflectional endings change a word’s tense, number, and how affixes can be added to a root or base word to create or derive a new but related meaning. Students learn how to deconstruct words and construct new words by adding affixes to base words and roots.

Multiple assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year to inform instructional adjustments of phonics, word recognition, and word analysis to help students make progress toward mastery; however, materials lack direct, explicit information on how to provide intervention for each assessment. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The Resource Library, Lesson and Unit Assessment, contains multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank blackline masters. Book 1, Diagnostic Assessment, includes a Phonics and Decoding Section. The scope of the assessment includes Sounds and Spellings/Word Structure and Meaning. On page iv, the guide informs teachers that the Diagnostic Assessment can be used as an initial screener with individual students or groups of students. Students’ results can be used to identify a student’s reading needs. The guide indicates that students who score below the expected level in any skill area, including Phonics and Decoding, will need additional scaffolding and support provided in intervention.

  • The Resource Library Benchmark Assessment includes multiple choice questions with a goal of 4 out of 5. Benchmark Assessments occur three times during the year and provide a means for progress monitoring with separate scores for Phonics and Word Analysis. On page vi, the Diagnosis section indicates that if students score below the cutoff, teachers should provide reteaching, practice opportunities, differentiation during Workshop, and intervention for students who need more intensive help.

  • In the Resource Library, the Intervention Teacher Guide is aligned to the skills taught in each lesson. Materials also include a Formal Assessment on Day 5 for each lesson that assesses the skills taught during Days 1-5. While materials provide these assessment and intervention resources, materials do not provide the teacher with specific guidance on what to do with formal assessment results and when to use intervention materials.

Indicator 1o

Materials include opportunities for students to practice and apply grade-level phonics, word analysis, and word recognition skills.

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1o.

Over the course of the year, the materials provide multiple and varied opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills in Phonics and Decoding lessons, Word Analysis lessons, and through use of Core Decodables. The materials have tasks and questions that allow students to access different foundational skills within the Core Decodable stories. However, there is no evidence of students having opportunities to access different foundational skills in anchor texts in the Anthology for Reading and Responding lessons.

Multiple and varied opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to learn, practice, and apply phonics, word analysis, and word recognition skills in connected tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 4, Day 2, Phonics and Decoding, Dictation and Spelling, students review and practice /oi/ spelled oi and _oy. During the Fluency lesson, students read the Core Decodable story, “Money Stories,” which includes the words choice, coins, voices, employee, joined, disappointed, enjoy.

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 1, Day 3, Word Analysis: Latin Suffixes -ment and -ive, the teacher guides students through reading words with the suffixes -ment and -ive using Routine 10, Words with Prefixes and Suffixes Routine. The teacher displays words, and students identify the base word. Students read two sentences that contain the suffixes. 

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 1, Day 2, Student Skills Pages, multiple pages offer practice using prefixes, suffixes, and word analysis skills to answer questions about stories being read, completing sentences, and matching words to their meanings.

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 3, Day 1, Word Analysis, About the Words, students review and practice the number prefixes uni-, bi-, tri-, and multi. During Guided Practice, students work independently on Skills Practice 2 pages 107- 108, including the prefixes uni-, bi-, tri-, and multi-.

Materials do not include tasks and questions that provide opportunities for students to access different foundational skills within the anchor text and supporting texts. 

  • No evidence found.

Indicator 1p

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in order to read with purpose and understanding.

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1p.

Materials include multiple opportunities over the course of the year for students to demonstrate sufficient accuracy and fluency in oral and silent reading of the Core Decodable stories, Anthology of Stories, and Fluency Passages in the Skills Practice Book. Materials support students’ fluency development of reading skills over the course of the year. Benchmark Assessments and the Lesson and Unit Assessment materials provide teachers and students with information about students’ current fluency skills. However, assessment materials do not link teachers directly to instructional adjustments to help students progress toward mastery of fluency.

Multiple opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate sufficient accuracy and fluency in oral and silent reading. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Students have opportunities to read grade-level text with purpose and understanding; however, that purpose is not consistently connected to grade-level standards.

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 1, Day 2, Reading and Responding, the teacher sets the purpose for reading “Storm Chasers.” The materials state, “Tell students to think as they read about why storm chasers take such great risks. What kind of a person would make a good storm chaser?” Students practice reading the selection with accuracy. The materials state, “Remind students that reading a text accurately, or correctly, is very important for comprehension. Tell students that if they do not recognize a word or if they mispronounce a word while reading, they should stop reading and decode the word, syllable by syllable, if necessary. Or they should use context to understand the word and self-correct their pronunciation.” They should reread the entire sentence several times until they can read it accurately and automatically.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 3, Day 1, Reading and Responding, the teacher sets the purpose for reading “Einstein Anderson and the Mighty Ants.” The materials state, “Tell students to think about how this situation is like and different from the one in the previous Einstein story as they read. What is the problem, and how does Einstein help solve it?” Students echo read pages 54-55 of the selection and practice automaticity. Materials state, “Have students follow along as you read pages 54 and 55 of ‘Einstein Anderson and the Mighty Ants’ aloud. Then have them echo read the passage with the same expression, rate, tone, and automaticity you modeled.”

Materials support reading or prose and poetry with attention to rate, accuracy, and expression, as well as direction for students to apply reading skills when productive struggle is necessary. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Students have opportunities to read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, Day 3, Fluency, students learn about rate and reading fluency. Materials state, “The teacher reads a few pages of ‘The Origami Master’ aloud at a slow pace. Then reread the pages at an appropriate rate explaining that fluent reading involves reading smoothly, expressively, and at a rate that moves the story along and keeps the audience engaged. Tell students that as they reread ‘The Origami Master’ they should try to read smoothly and at an appropriate rate. Let students know it is perfectly acceptable to slow down when they encounter unfamiliar words or concepts. Expression is important too, however. If they need to briefly slow their pace for emphasis or effect, they should do so as well.”

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 1, Day 2, Fluency, Reading a Decodable Story, students build fluency by reading the Core Decodable story “The Empty Field” with a partner. Partners reread the story aloud several times. The teacher reviews with students about the appropriate speed or pace when reading. The teacher reminds students that readers use commas in the text to help them control the pace. 

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 4, Day 4, Fluency, students read the dialogue in a play with expression. They note stage directions and think about how the characters would feel when saying the lines. They speak the lines as realistically as possible. The teacher models some of the lines. The teacher assigns students to different characters, and students read “Get the Facts” with expression. Students exchange parts until all students have practiced the other lines.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 6, Day 1, Fluency, students read the “Santa Ana Winds” for fluency practice on pages 71 and 72 of Skills Practice 2. Before they begin, the teacher reviews punctuation marks and explains that each mark signals a pause and sometimes a particular intonation. The teacher reads the first two paragraphs aloud, and students raise their hands when they hear a pause. Students practice reading the paragraphs with a partner.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 1, Day 4, Fluency, students read pages 20 and 21 of “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse,” focusing on identifying the emotions of the story, ranging from awe to curiosity to fear. Students practice changing their intonation to reflect the emotions of the story. The materials state, “By reading with proper expression, students can increase their comprehension of the characters and events. As students read, have them stop periodically and ask what emotions the characters are experiencing.”

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 2, Day 3, Fluency, students practice reading the poem “Election Day” aloud. Students use punctuation as a guide for where to pause instead of pausing obviously at line breaks. The teacher explains that pausing obviously at all line breaks and emphasizing end rhymes will give the poem a “sing-songy tone” that students should avoid. The teacher discusses the emotions the speaker is expressing and how to convey those emotions while reading. The teacher encourages students to read with expression.

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 6, Day 3, Fluency, the teacher reminds students that proper phrasing is an important part of fluency. The teacher assigns the fluency passage on pages 151–152 of Skills Practice 2 to practice fluent reading. The teacher models how to draw slashes at phrase boundaries in sentences from the passage. Students practice in pairs and reread the sentences to make sure their phrasing is accurate.

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 6, Day 1, Fluency, the teacher reminds students that reading with accuracy is essential to fluency. To read with accuracy, students must show that they know the pronunciations of all words in the text. The teacher reads aloud pages 424 and 425 of "Ah, Music!" and points out how to read quickly and accurately. The materials state, “Discuss any words students might still have trouble pronouncing, such as expression, universal, twittering, and brilliant. Divide the words into syllables to help with pronunciation if necessary. Have students reread these pages, concentrating on reading fluently and accurately. Remind students to use context to confirm their word recognition and understanding.”

Materials support students’ fluency development of reading skills (e.g., self-correction of word recognition and/or for understanding, focus on rereading) over the course of the year (to get to the end of the grade-level band). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Students have opportunities to use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary. 

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, Day 1, Fluency, Reading a Decodable Story, students read “Vic’s Big Chore” using Routine 9, Oral and Silent Reading Routine. The teacher reminds students to use the story’s context to monitor their accuracy and confirm or self-correct their reading when they mispronounce or misunderstand a word.

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 6, Day 1, Fluency, Reading a Decodable Story, students read “Migrating Geese.” The teacher tells them to use the story’s context to monitor their accuracy and confirm or self-correct their reading when they mispronounce or misunderstand a word.

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 4, Day 3, Fluency, Reading a Decodable Story, the teacher reminds students that reading with automaticity is essential to fluency. Students practice automaticity by reading and rereading a text. Students try to use context to confirm meanings if they encounter any unfamiliar words. Students follow along as the teacher reads pages 78–79 of “Amazing Animals” aloud. Students echo read the passage with the same expression, rate, tone, and automaticity as the teacher modeled.

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with information of students’ current fluency skills. However, materials do not provide teachers with instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery of fluency. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In the Teacher Edition, Resource Library, Assessment, Lesson and Unit Assessment, there is an Oral Reading Fluency strand of each Unit Assessment. The scope of the assessment includes Oral fluency development from lesson to lesson and unit to unit. There is a chart to show expected correct words-per-minute for each unit. There is also a checklist for prosody with the end-of-year expectation for students should demonstrate four out of five prosody elements at the average level.

  • In the Teacher Edition, Resource Library, Assessment, the Diagnostic Assessment can be used as an initial screener with an individual student or groups of students. Oral Fluency is one of the five skill areas assessed. The assessment checks oral reading rate, accuracy, and reading prosody.

  • In the Teacher Edition, Resource Library, Assessment, the Benchmark Assessment is given three times per year (after Units 1, 3, and 6). Oral Fluency is a strand in the Benchmark Assessment. Page v provides a table of correct words-per-minute cut-offs for each of the assessment periods.

  • In the Teacher Edition, Resource Library, the Intervention Teacher Guide is aligned to lessons for instructional adjustments but not to data from the assessment.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

+
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Gateway Two Details

The Open Court Grade 3 materials include six units that are formed around a topic or theme related to the program theme, however not all units effectively build students’ knowledge on a topic. Within the lessons, students analyze the key ideas, details, craft and structure of the texts they are studying, including some analysis of knowledge and ideas within and across texts, however not all questions and tasks compel students to return to the text to support their contentions and conclusions.

Students engage in frequent writing tasks across the year however they may not achieve the full balance of writing genres outlined in the standards. 

The Inquiry projects that serve as the final task for each unit provide research and extension opportunities but fall short of serving as a means for teachers to determine how well students can integrate the standards-aligned knowledge and skills gained from instruction. The option for research tasks to be completed as a group for every unit may not provide enough opportunity for students to build their individual research skills as required by the standards.

The materials provide coverage of the standards throughout all units and over the course of the year, however, the preponderance of repetitive, unaligned reading strategies throughout the program moves the focus of the instruction, questions, tasks, and assessments away from a tight focus on grade level standards alignment. The program also contains a large volume of material without a suggested daily schedule; therefore, a full and standards-aligned implementation could be challenging.

Criterion 2a - 2f

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

12/24
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Criterion Rating Details

The Open Court Grade 3 materials include six units that are formed around a topic or theme related to the program theme. Each unit includes a big idea and question that is aligned to a vertical thread that runs across each grade level in the program. However, not all units work toward building knowledge on a topic as some work toward a unifying theme. 

Within each unit, the questions and tasks lead students to analyze the key ideas, details, craft and structure of the texts they are studying. Students also engage in some analysis of knowledge and ideas within and across texts, however not all questions and tasks compel students to return to the text to support their contentions and conclusions.

Students engage in daily writing tasks and have frequent opportunities to grow their writing skills throughout the year. However, the Grade 3 materials do not reflect the balance of writing genres called for in the standards. 

While the Inquiry projects provide an opportunity for students to extend their learning about the topic or theme of each unit, these projects fail to consistently incorporate the knowledge and skills students gain throughout the unit nor do they require the students to incorporate and demonstrate the integration of the knowledge and skills that align to the standards. Since the projects may be done in a group for every unit, they may fail to build each individual student’s research skills as required by the 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 materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2a.

The materials include six overarching program themes over the course of the year, including Character, Changes, Communities, Life Science, Government and Creativity for Grades K-5. Each grade-level unit focuses on a theme or topic connected to the overall program theme. The grade-level units contain a big idea, theme question, and inquiry. Grade 3 includes both themes and topics including Respect, Extreme Weather, A Changing Nation, Animals and Their Habitats, Government at Work, and Arts on the Move. The series of texts in each unit are mostly cohesive and relate to the overall program theme. All units provide essential questions and a theme connection question. Big Idea and concept boards are used to broaden student knowledge while engaging with complex texts. Each lesson within a unit contains anchor texts that help to build knowledge based on the topic or theme. There is vertical alignment across the program, so similar topics and themes are seen throughout Grades K-5. Although there are connections to both the overarching program themes and vertical alignment within the materials, students are not always building knowledge towards a specific topic. Often students are building knowledge around a theme. 

Texts are connected by a grade-appropriate cohesive topic in some units. Some texts build knowledge and the ability to read and comprehend complex texts across a school year. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, texts are connected to the topic of Extreme Weather. The texts examine the Big Idea of weather conditions that are out of the ordinary, and the Theme Connection of various ways extreme weather impacts our lives. Texts in this unit include, but are not limited to, the following: 

    • In Lesson 1, students read Storm Chasers by Alanna Parker (informational text), and answer the Essential Questions, “How can technology help us understand weather hazards? What kinds of risks are involved in studying weather? When can it be worth it to take a risk?” 

    • In Lesson 3, students read Seasons of Change by Jan Mader (informational text), and answer the Essential Questions, “How do people adjust to the changing seasons? How can weather help you relate to other people around the world?” 

    • In Lesson 5, students read Hot Enough to Fry an Egg by Raymond Huber (informational text), and answer the Essential Questions, “How can weather affect large areas of the country? What are the usual weather conditions where you live?” 

    • In Lesson 6, students read Einstein Anderson and the Hurricane Hoax (realistic fiction) by Seymour Simon and respond to the Essential Questions, “Why do we measure weather? Why would people want to control the weather? What methods have people used to reduce the impact of extreme weather?”

  • In Unit 4, texts are connected to the topic of Animals and Their Habitat. The texts explore the Big Idea of how different animals interact with their environments and ways they live and adapt. They also consider the Theme Connection of how animals survive in different habitats. Texts in this unit include, but are not limited to, the following: 

    • In Lesson 1, students read The Country Mouse and the City Mouse (fable) by Vidas Barzdukas and respond to the Essential Questions, “What kinds of animals live in the country? What kinds of animals live in the city? Why do you think animals are better suited for one place over another?” 

    • In Lesson 3, students read Einstein Anderson and the Mighty Ants by Seymour Simon (realistic fiction) and respond to the Essential Questions, “How do people use animals? What are some special features of animals you are familiar with? How can special animal features be useful for people?” 

    • In Lesson 4, students read Amazing Animals by Karen E. Martin (informational text) and respond to the Essential Questions, “What are some animals that have unique traits or abilities? How do animals use their unique traits or abilities to survive?” 

    • In Lesson 5, students read Ecosystem Invaders by Nancy Morris (informational text) and answer the Essential Questions, “What could happen when an animal moves to a different habitat? How might your habitat be affected if something new was introduced?”

  • In Unit 5, texts are connected to the topic of Government at Work. The texts help students explore the Big Idea of why a government is necessary and the components of the democratic process. They also explore the Theme Connection of what kinds of decisions are being made by the government. Texts in this unit include, but are not limited to, the following: 

    • In Lesson 1, students read The Road to Democracy by Chandler Tyrell (informational text with an embedded myth) and answer the Essential Questions, “What are some ways that people make decisions as a group? What ways are the easiest? What ways are most fair?” 

    • In Lesson 2, students read Every Vote Counts by Lisa Kurkov (informational text with an embedded fable) and respond to the Essential Questions, “How do elections work? Why is it important for citizens to participate in elections?” 

    • In Lesson 4, students read The United States Capital by Holly Karapetkova (informational text) and respond to the Essential Questions, “What could happen if one person had too much power in the government? Who tells our government what to do? How?” 

    • In Lesson 6, students read So You Want to Be President? By Judith St. George (biography) and answer the Essential Questions, “What kind of person could become the president? What do you think all presidents should have in common?” 

  • In Unit 6, texts are connected to the topic of Art on the Move. The texts guide students through the Big Ideas of ways that art can be made through the use of your voice or body, and how performing music, plays and dance routines are forms of artistic expression. They also touch on the Theme Connection of what can be considered a performance. Texts in this unit include, but are not limited to, the following: 

    • In Lesson 1, students read The Power of Music by Karen E. Martin (informational text with an embedded myth) and respond to the Essential Questions, ”Why do you think ancient people valued music so highly? What myths, legends, fairy tales, or other stories have you heard about music?” 

    • In Lesson 2, students read Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Kathryn Russell-Brown (biography) and answer the Essential Questions,”What role does natural talent play in a performer’s success? How can talent help a performer overcome adversity?” 

    • In Lesson 3, students read Marshall’s Role by Sam Estrada (realistic fiction) and answer the Essential Questions,”What goes into a performance that the audience does not see? Who works to make performances possible?” 

    • In Lesson 5, students read A World Tour in Song and Dance by Jack Stearns (informational text) and answer the Essential Questions,”Why do people around the world sing and dance? What kinds of things do all people have in common?”

Texts are connected by a theme in some units. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, texts are connected to the theme of Respect. The texts connect to the unit’s Big Idea by providing examples of what respect means to different people and the ways that people show respect to others, as well as the Theme Connection of what respect means to you. Texts in this unit include, but are not limited to, the following: 

    • In Lesson 1, students read The Origami Master by Nathaniel Lochenmeyer (fantasy) and answer the Essential Questions, “How important is friendship? Why should you respect and support your friends?” 

    • In Lesson 3, students read Damon and Pythias by Brian Dalton (legend) and answer the Essential Questions, “How important is trust between friends? Have you ever worked hard to show somebody that you care about him or her? What would you be willing to give up for a friend?” 

    • In Lesson 6, students read The White Spider’s Gift adapted by Marilynn Reynolds (play) and answer the Essential Questions, “What makes somebody a good person? How do actions speak louder than words?”

  • In Unit 3, texts are connected to the theme of A Changing Nation. The texts address the Big Idea of how we can learn from our past and different ways change is demonstrated in our communities and how change teaches us about our past. The Theme Connection is how transportation has changed over time. Texts in this unit include, but are not limited to, the following: 

    • In Lesson 1, students read A New Life for Mei by Judy Kentor Schmauss (historical fiction) and answer the Essential Questions, “How did immigrants help build the country? How would you feel if you had to immigrate to an unfamiliar place?” 

    • In Lesson 2, students read The Harlem Renaissance by Matthew Gollub (informational text) and answer the Essential Questions, “Why would people want to feel like they are part of a community? Is there anything about your community that makes you feel proud?” 

    • In Lesson 4, students read The Cherokee: Gold and Tears by Jessica Lasko (informational text) and answer the Essential Questions, “What impact have Native Americans had on this country? How were early Native American communities forced to change?” 

    • In Lesson 6, students read Arbor Day Square by Kathryn O. Galbraith (historical fiction) and answer the Essential Questions, “What is the oldest thing in your neighborhood? What in your community reminds you of the past? What effect can you have on your community’s future?”

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.

4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for Indicator 2b.

The materials provide opportunities for students to analyze key ideas, writer’s craft, and text structure. Each lesson provides opportunities through the Access Complex Text section in which students look at main ideas and/or various text structures. Writer’s craft is addressed with every text, typically on Day 4. The Teacher Edition provides prompts and modeling for the teacher to help address the key idea, structure, and craft. The Teacher Edition typically has the teacher model analyzing key details and structure in the first lessons within the unit, and later the teacher prompts students to find key details and structure. The Look Closer section at the end of each selection specifically asks students to analyze the key ideas and details, the writer’s craft, and the text structure of the selection. The type of questions asked in this section require students to delve deeper into the text to help them access the complex text and to make sense of the text.

While most questions and tasks are high-quality, provide a logical sequence, and build in rigor throughout the year, some questions engage students in practices that do not align to the grade-level standards. The teacher models tasks at the beginning of the year and gradually releases more of the task to the students. 

For most texts, students analyze key ideas and details and craft and structure (according to grade-level standards). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

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

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 5, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students read The Prairie Fire by Marilynn Reynolds. Under Access the Complex Text, students work on main ideas and details. The Teacher Edition states, “Have students reread page 92. Discuss as follows: This introductory page sets the stage for the story by describing what it was like to live on the prairie at this time. I can tell that the main idea, or most important point in the page, is that fires were a great danger on the prairie. What are the details that support this statement?” The Teacher Edition continues, “Have students reread pages 94-95. Discuss as follows: Let’s investigate the main idea for these pages. Percy volunteers again to help his father plow the fireguard, but once again, he is told he is too small. He keeps asking to help, so I think the main idea is that Percy feels that his parents are treating him like a little kid by not allowing him to help his father. What are some more details that support this main idea?” Possible answers are provided. 

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read Seasons of Change by Jan Mador and are asked questions about the key ideas and details such as: According to the selection, what are the best things that each season has to offer in the U.S.? What three cities are coldest in the winter? What three cities are hottest in the summer? Which season has the most extreme weather in the United States? Use evidence from the text to explain your answer. In which cities would people’s activities change the least when seasons change?”

    • In Unit 2, Lesson 3, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students answer questions about Tornadoes! by Gail Gibbons. Two of the questions are, “How do tornadoes form? What is the difference between an EF-0 tornado and an EF-5?” These questions are meant to be answered as a class. 

    • In Unit 3, Lesson 4, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students read The Cherokee: Gold and Tears by Jessica Lasko. The teacher explains what a main idea is and asks students to identify the main idea in the last paragraph on page 377.  The materials state, “Have them explain how this main idea is supported by details in other sentences in the text. How do the text features support the main idea as well?” 

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 1, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read The Country Mouse and the City Mouse by Vidas Barzdukas and are asked questions about the key ideas and details such as, “Now that we have read these two pages, do we have more evidence to confirm or revise my prediction? How can we use the information we know about the characters to confirm or revise my prediction? How would you describe each habitat in the story? What is the moral, or lesson of this fable? How do you know? How does the text describe Country Mouse’s habitat? How does the text describe City Mouse’s habitat? In Country Mouse’s habitat, finding food is difficult. In City Mouse’s habitat, finding food is dangerous. How does each mouse feel about these challenges?”

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, Day 3, Reading and Responding students practice the comprehension skill of sequencing while reading Marching with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage by Claire Rudolph Murphy. The Teacher Edition provides the following prompts, “Have students indicate the correct sequence of events on pages 248-253. Have students retell the events of pages 254-257 in the correct sequence.” This comprehension strategy has been used many times previously and does not grow in sophistication over the course of the year to help students analyze the series of events and their outcomes. 

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 6, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students reread the paragraph on page 278 and identify the main idea of each paragraph and explain how evidence from the text supports their answer. Students are asked to do both tasks independently. In the Text Connections questions, students are asked, “What is the main idea of ‘So You Want to Be President?’ How do the details in the text support this idea?”

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 4, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students read the text Behind the Scenes by Tina Messerly. During Access Complex Text, the Teacher Edition provides the following prompts, “Have students reread page 379. Ask them how they would compare and contrast matter and energy. Ask students to explain the similarities and differences between moving actors on a pulley and moving them on a pendulum.” 

  • The materials contain coherently sequenced questions and tasks that address craft and structure. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students read Little Havana by Lana Cruce. Students work on writer’s craft and focus on the use of dialogue. The Teacher Edition states, “Ask students what feeling Marisa is expressing in the dialogue on these pages. Explain that here the author has chosen to use dialogue to show Marisa’s change of heart about visiting Miami. This lesson that she learns is the key to understanding the theme of the story-that learning more about one’s heritage is often a very good thing.” 

    • In Unit 4, Lesson 4, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students read Amazing Animals by Karen E. Martin and are asked questions to reflect the craft and structure of the text selection including, “The term ward off means ‘to keep or force away.’ Look again at the second paragraph on page 75. Which word in the paragraph helps you understand the meaning of ward off? Discuss the structure and rhyming patterns of the poem. Point out the groups of four lines. Ask students what these sections are called. Remind students that stanzas are like paragraphs that contain related information or details. Ask students what the main idea of each stanza is. Ask students whether they see any other patterns in the poem. Are there any rhymes at the ends of lines? What kind of information is found on pages 74-75 and how it is organized?”

    • In Unit 5, Lesson 2, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, after reading the poem Election Day by Angela Parker, students are asked to describe the author’s point of view about voting. Students are asked “to describe their point of view about voting. Is it similar or different from the speaker’s point of view?” On Day 4, students again practice determining point of view. “On page 186, the author moves away from giving facts about voting to expressing a point of view. What is that point of view?” 

    • In Unit 6, Lesson 5, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students read A World Tour in Song and Dance by Jack Stearns and are asked questions to reflect the craft and structure of the text selection including, “The word commences means “begins, or starts.” How can you use context clues on page 400 to figure out the meaning of commences? What kind of information do you see on these pages? What do the photographs show? How do the photographs and the captions help you understand the information shared in the text or give additional information? Explain the point of view about music and dance and give evidence from the text that supports the point of view.”

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.

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2c.

The materials provide some questions and tasks that support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas. Within the Reading and Responding sections of the lesson such as, Access Context Text, Close Read, Writer’s Craft and Inquiry, Steps 1-6 are paired with Anchor Texts and supporting texts in both the Student Anthology and Science/Social Studies Connection Text. Students have the opportunity to analyze topics and integrate ideas in their discussions and writing tasks. Often discussion questions and prompts posed by the teacher help to incorporate knowledge related to the topic or theme with the text being read during class. Some comprehension questions found in the Student Anthology require students to incorporate knowledge and ideas, although many comprehension questions are surface-level and do not always require the student to access the text. The materials also focus on comprehension strategies that are repeated throughout the course of the year. These comprehension strategies are often focused on helping students build knowledge. 

Some sets of questions and tasks support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read the poems “Language of the Birds” and “My Grandma’s Stories” by Jorge Argueta. Under Theme Connection, the Teacher Edition states, “Discuss with students what message each poem is trying to convey. Talk about how the speaker of ‘Language of the Birds’ honors an ancestral language so ancient that it seems it could have been learned from birds. Discuss how the speaker of ‘My Grandma’s Stories’ feels about Mita’s stories. Ask students to explain how both of these poems talk about respect.”

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read Seasons of Change by Elizabeth Bryant. Students answer four comprehension questions about the text. The questions build on each other, but some of them can be answered without the text. The questions include, “What three cities are coldest in the winter? What three cities are hottest in the summer? Do the leaves change color in San Antonio in autumn? Why not? Where else might leaves not change color? Which season has the most extreme weather in the United States? Use evidence from the text to explain your answer. Which cities on the charts are most likely to be visited by weather scientists like the ones you learned about in ‘Storm Chasers?’ Why?” 

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 4, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students are asked to, “Contrast how the Cherokee moved to Oklahoma with how the people in the other stories moved.” Text in the unit include A New Life for Mei by Judy Kentor Schmauss, The Harlem Renaissance by Matthew Gollub, The Overlanders by Jason D. Nemeth, and The Cherokee: Gold and Tears by Jessica Lasko.

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 2, Day 4, during Reading and Responding, students read A Saguaro’s Story by Lindsay Evans. Students are provided the following prompt, “Look at the illustration on pages 40-41. What is the mood of the birds and the other desert animals? How does the illustration help you understand this part of the story?”   

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 4, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read The United States Capitol by Holly Karapetkova. Under Text Connections, students answer questions in the Student Anthology. One question states, “Why might the Capitol be a good resource for people who want to know more about American history? Find evidence in the text to support your answer.” 

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 6, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read Ah, Music! by Aliki. Under Access Complex Text, students focus on Fact and Opinion. The Teacher Edition states, “Discuss with students which statements on these pages could be considered facts, and which ones are opinions. Ask students how some of the statements about the effects of music might be proven true. Talk about whether this makes them facts or opinions. Ask students if they agree with the opinion they have found. Have them support their answer with evidence from the text and from their own lives.” This discussion on fact and opinion emphasizes the comprehension strategy, but not analyzing the text to build knowledge.  

Sets of questions and tasks provide opportunities to analyze across multiple texts. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 3, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students answer questions in the Student Anthology under text connection. These questions relate to the text It Couldn’t Be Done by Edgar Albert Guest and One Small Step by Vidas Barzdukas. One of the questions states, “Using ‘The Inventor’s Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford’ and ‘One Small Step’, identify characteristics of the process of invention that are shared by both enterprises.” Possible answers are provided. 

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students read Seasons of Change by Jan Moder and answer a series of questions such as, “How do people adjust to the changing seasons? How can weather help you relate to other people around the world? According to the selection, what are the best things that each season has to offer in the U.S.? Students reread pages 188-189 to compare and contrast winter in Colorado with winter in Kenya. Which season has the most extreme weather in the United States? Use evidence from the text to explain your answer.”

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 3, Day 3, during Reading and Responding, students are asked, “What does Ellie’s family have in common with Mei and Hong in “A New Life for Mei” and the people who were part of the Great Migration North in ‘The Harlem Renaissance?’” Students are asked to compare characters from the selections over three lessons in Unit 3.

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 2, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students read Every Vote Counts by Lisa Kurkov. During Access Complex Text, students focus on the skill of comparing and contrasting. The Teacher Edition states, “Have students reread the fable on pages 182-183. Discuss as follows. Remember the fable you read in Unit 4 called ‘The Country Mouse and the City Mouse’? This story is also considered a fable. How is it similar to the Unit 4 story? How are the two fables different?” Possible answers are provided.

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).

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet the criteria for Indicator 2d.

All units conclude with an Inquiry Project that develops around a Unit Theme and Question Board that builds on student knowledge, understanding, and “wonderings” and questions throughout the Inquiry Process. Students learn about a topic that is integrated throughout with specific texts and text sets, including the Read-Aloud, Discussion Starters, Big Idea, Essential Questions accompanying each text, Theme Connection text, Science/Social Studies connection, and Concept Board. However, since students have so much choice in the topic of the Inquiry Project and how they complete the project, this may limit how much topical knowledge is demonstrated and how much reading and writing students complete during the process. The Inquiry Rubric is designed to assess speaking, listening, and research skills. It is not specifically designed to assess reading and writing. The Inquiry Projects process evolves and changes as the units progress, including the extent of teacher modeling, support provided, variations in project ideas, grouping of students, note-taking strategies, and presentation choices. Speaking and listening rubrics can also support the speaking and listening process as it is also used in the Handing-Off Routines. Additionally, students frequently complete the tasks in groups or pairs; therefore, it may be difficult to truly determine each student’s knowledge and skills gained from the unit. 

Culminating tasks are not evident across the year. While some Inquiry Projects are multifaceted, requiring students to demonstrate one or more standards at the appropriate grade level, and comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics through integrated skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening), the degree to which students are allowed to make choices about the tasks may not provide sufficient evidence for the teacher to assess their progress in relation to the grade-level expectations for reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Additionally, for units that are organized around a topic, the degree of choice left to students may limit the amount of topical knowledge measured in the inquiry tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Inquiry Projects at the end of each unit are related to the theme of the unit, but do not require students to demonstrate mastery of several standards. According to the Program Guide, the Inquiry Projects require students to “conduct an investigation into something related to the theme that interests them.” The Inquiry Projects follow the same process across all units. 

  • In Unit 3, Concept/Question Board: A Changing Nation, students write questions they have about a time in U.S. history and post their responses on the question side of the board. Students select a single question as a large group. Students then form two or three large groups. Each group forms a different conjecture, conducts research, and presents their/ findings at the end of the unit. There are no specific requirements that the Inquiry Projects must reflect topical knowledge from the unit. Additionally, there is no requirement for students to demonstrate mastery and integration of the standards taught throughout the unit. 

Indicator 2e

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2e.

The materials contain a variety of text types addressed over the course of the year, with instruction, guided practice, and independent work in the Language Arts section of the materials. The Scope and Sequence of the Teacher Edition lays out the year-long writing plan for the materials. The first three units have students practice a different type of writing for the full unit. These include persuasive/opinion, informational/explanatory, and narrative writing. These are distributed throughout the school year in later units also, as well as writing in a specific genre; however, they do not reflect the balance called for in the standards. Students write every day during the Language Arts section and the materials include sufficient writing opportunities for students. The materials create a gradual release model by beginning with more guided instruction, and releasing to more independent work as the year goes on. Each lesson includes sections organized into Instruct, Guided Practice, and Apply. Often during the Instruct or Guided Practice section, the materials provide an example text the teacher can use to model instruction. Procedures and routines are provided for the teacher regarding conferencing with students about their writing and modeling writing. The materials provide the teacher with instructional routines, checklists, student writing goals, rubrics, and detailed plans in the Language Arts Lesson Plan found in the Teacher’s Unit Lesson Plan. Editing, revising, and publishing checklists are provided for the students in the Skills Practice book. 

Materials include writing instruction that partially aligns to the standards for the grade level and supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, during the Language Arts section, students work on opinion writing. Students complete four opinion writing pieces over the course of six weeks. The first piece is an opinion piece written as a class, then an opinion piece written with a partner. Later,  students write two opinion pieces independently. 

  • In Unit 3, during the Language Arts section, students write four narrative pieces over the six-week period. Students write a realistic story, a tall tale, a personal narrative, and a fantasy. The realistic story is written as a class, the tall tale is written with a partner, and the personal narrative and fantasy text are written independently. 

  • In Unit 5, during the Language Arts section, students write five pieces. Students write a persuasive writing piece, a response to nonfiction, a business letter, a summary, and a response to literature. Students write these texts independently. 

  • In the “Look Closer” section of the Student Anthology, students respond to an On-Demand writing prompt under the Write section. This typically happens on Day 4 for every lesson in all the units. 

Instructional materials include a variety of well-designed guidance, protocols, models, and support for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In the Resource Library, the materials provide an Instructional Routine for Modeling Writing Strategies. The routine includes information states, “Model how to use the strategy when writing by saying aloud your thoughts and by describing each thing you do. Provide students with assistance in applying the strategy until they can do it on their own.” 

  • In the Resource Library, the materials provide teachers a Management Routine for Writing Conference. The routine includes these steps, “Review any feedback the student has received. Identify positive elements of the student’s writing.” Strategies to help with students' writing are provided as well as writing conference questions about the students’ ideas, organization, voice, and word choice. 

  • Grade 3 students keep writing notebooks. Set-up directions for the writing notebook include a spiral-bound notebook or three-ring binder with four dividers. Each divider includes a Response Journal for students to write their thoughts about each selection as they read, a Vocabulary section for students to record vocabulary words and their definitions from each selection, an Inquiry section for students to organize ideas and record information they find as they research theme-related concepts, and a Writing Ideas section for students to note ideas they have for writing or ideas to improve or add to existing writing. During Workshop, students are able to practice and review what was taught in the lesson, read, work on writing activities, or work on Inquiry projects that relate to the unit theme. Materials include protocols for the Workshop, Modeling Writing Strategies, Presenting Writing, and Writing Conferences.

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, Day 4, during the Language Arts section, students review the TREE diagram from the previous day’s lesson and refer to the Writing Checklist before they begin drafting their opinion essay. Students also look at page 201 in the Language Arts Handbook for examples and explanations on linking words. In Lesson 2, Day 4, during the Language Arts section, students publish their opinion writing piece. A writing rubric is linked in the Teacher Edition. The materials state, “You will use the Writing Rubrics found in the Level Appendix to evaluate students’ opinion writing. You may use any of the rubrics for Genre, Writing Process, and Writing Traits. Share with students what you will be looking for when assessing their opinion writing.” 

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 4, Day 3, during the Language Arts section, students edit their informational text. In the Guided Practice section, the materials provide practice sentences for students to edit. In the Apply section, students edit their informational text by using the checklist in Skills Practice. The checklist includes the following, “Did you use proofreading symbols when editing? Did you use adjectives? Do your sentences contain both subjects and predicates? Did you check your writing for spelling mistakes?” The Skill Practice book also provides the proofreading symbols for students to use.

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 5, Day 1, during the Language Arts section, students review how to write a fantasy. Students review a model text of fantasy writing provided in the Language Arts Handbook, and are provided with a story map with beginning, middle, and end. Students work with partners to discuss the story map. The Teacher Edition provides models, graphic organizers, and examples/reminders for the teacher to use when teaching writing. The teacher follows the Instruct, Guided Practice, and Apply daily routine found in the Teacher Edition.

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 6, Day 3, during the Language Arts section, students edit their explanatory writing. In the Instruct section of the Teacher Edition, the teacher models editing a model writing piece. In the Guided Practice section, the Teacher Edition provides model sentences for the students to practice editing before moving onto editing their own explanatory text. In the Apply section, the Teacher Edition states, “Have students edit their explanatory texts using the checklist on Skills Practice 2 page 66. Encourage students to use the proofreading marks shown on Skills Practice 2 page 38. Remind students to reread their writing several times to look for errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.” 

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 1, Day 1, during the Language Arts section, students refer to page 204 in the Language Arts Handbook to read the sample paragraph and identify the three reasons provided by the author for why the reader should agree. In addition, students use the Graphic Organizer Routine to complete a web to write an opinion and brainstorm ideas. 

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 5, Day 4, during the Language Arts section, students draft biographies. The teacher instructs students how to organize their biographies in chronological order. A prewriting graphic organizer is provided in the Skills Practice book for students to organize their information. In the Guided Practice section, the teacher models drafting the narrative. The Teacher Edition states, “Model beginning the draft of your biography, guided by the graphic organizers from Skills Practice 2 pages 207-221. Narrate your thoughts as you compose the draft. Point out that you are including facts and information, but you are also telling a story about the subject’s life.” The materials also provide an example text that the teacher can use to model their writing. 

  • Writing Rubrics can be found at the end of each unit in the Appendix. Different sets of rubrics cover various elements of writing, including genre, writing process, and writing traits.The rubrics are intended to help teachers provide criteria and feedback to students. The program provides a four-point rubric in each of the four areas: 1 point: student is performing below basic level, 2-points: student abilities are emerging, 3-points: student work is adequate and achieving expectations; 4-points: student is exceeding writing expectations.

  • Writing rubrics align with the standards so teachers can monitor student progress. For example, the materials provide Narrative Writing Genres rubrics. One aspect where students may earn a four in the rubric states, “The narrative includes the use of temporal words and phrases to signal order event, and characters’ thoughts and feeling are clearly evident.”

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.

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2f.

The materials include a year’s worth of research projects called Inquiry Projects. During Inquiry portions of the units, students learn more about the unit by investigating the theme or overarching idea. Inquiry begins in Units 1-2 as whole-class instruction. The teacher models the steps of the investigation for students, who are asked to apply the steps in future research. In Units 3-4, students work in small groups on investigations of interest to them. Students learn research skills including locating reliable Internet websites and sources for information, interviewing subject-matter experts, collecting information, taking notes, working collaboratively, and presenting information in a variety of ways. While students have opportunities to brainstorm questions, create a conjecture, and conduct research, the research skills remain static across the year and do not grow in sophistication. Inquiry begins with whole class inquiry and then transitions to group work. Over the course of the year, students do not work with the inquiry process independently; therefore, students never demonstrate individual mastery of the research skills outlined in the standards. The materials provide numerous modeling prompts for the teacher to use, as well as graphic organizers and rubrics to help guide research. Students choose which resources they want to use for research, with a heavy emphasis on online content. Some guidance is provided to assure students are selecting appropriate and adequate resources for their projects. The Inquiry Projects serve as an extension of the unit and are not always tied to the unit texts.

Research projects are somewhat sequenced across a school year to include a progression of research skills according to grade-level standards. Examples include, but are not limited to the following: 

  • The Inquiry process has the same steps throughout the year: Step 1: Develop Questions, Step 2: Create Conjectures, Step 3: Collect Information, Step 4: Revise Conjectures, Step 5: Develop Presentations, and Step 6: Deliver Presentations.

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 3, Day 3, during the Inquiry section, the teacher discusses why students might want to include an interview with a subject-matter expert in their research. The teacher highlights the steps needed prior to the interview, including doing some preliminary research in order to write good questions to prepare for the interview. The teacher prepares the students for the steps of scheduling interviews, how they should behave during the interview, including having multiple people write down the interviewee’s responses. 

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 3, Day 2, students engage in Inquiry Step 3: Collecting Information. The teacher reminds students of the importance of note-taking during research. The teacher reviews some note-taking procedures and summary writing. The class also discusses and brainstorms symbols and abbreviations that would be useful when taking notes for research, especially during interviews. 

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 4, Day 4, students work on Inquiry Step 4: Revise Conjectures. The Teacher Edition states, “Have each group’s members share all information they have gathered through the research and Inquiry process, and help them organize that information into related groups. If relevant, help student groups collaborate and edit their class wiki.” 

Materials provide some support for teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge of different aspects of a topic. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:  

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, Day 3, during Step 1: Develop Questions, the teacher uses a Sample Concept/Question Board to support the modeling of generating questions and ideas. In Lesson 2, Day 3, teachers display the provided Questions and Conjectures graphic organizer to support the students’ discussion of sample conjectures. In Lesson 2, Day 4, the teacher displays and discusses a list of possible ideas and the resources that can be used for research. In Lesson 3, Day 2, the teacher continues to model strategies using the Combination Notes graphic organizer as students prepare to begin collecting information and note-taking. 

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 3, Day 2, students complete Inquiry Step 3: Collect Information. The Teacher Edition provides the following guided questions for taking summary notes, “Use your own words, double check your summary against the original, and write down information about your source.” The teacher then models these skills and has the class discuss if the research would or would not support their conjecture. 

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 5, Day 2, students brainstorm presentation ideas during Step 6: Develop Presentations. The teacher uses Inquiry TechTutors to provide general overviews of the chosen presentation mode. These short videos can aid in students’ understanding of how to present their information. 

Materials provide some opportunities for students to conduct research projects that synthesize and analyze content tied to the topics under study as a part of the research process. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 2, Day 2, during Inquiry, the Teacher Edition provides a think-aloud to support students in synthesizing and analyzing information as they form a conjecture. The materials state, “Model doing this by offering a sample question, ‘Why are unmanned drones more effective than people when studying some types of weather?’ Then say, ‘The selection said that drones transmit data from a storm. I would imagine that the drones safely go places that might be too dangerous for a person. They can also fly, and I think even storm chasers probably do not fly into storms. I will use this to make a conjecture: Unmanned drones are more effective than people when studying some weather because they can safely reach dangerous areas.” The teacher leads the group through subsequent conjectures and continues this process with the students throughout the week.

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 4, Day 4, students complete Inquiry Step 4: Revise Conjectures. In this lesson, group members share the information they have found and try to organize it all. After discussing the information, the Teacher Edition provides the following prompt, “Discuss whether each group’s conjecture should be revised again, based on all the research. Remind students that the next step will be to think of a way to present their findings.”

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 4, Day 2, students complete Inquiry Step 4: Revise Conjectures. The Teacher Edition states, “Remind students that as people research and learn new things, they often realize that their findings do not match their conjectures. When this happens, people must adjust their conjectures and continue doing research.” The materials also provide some modeling for the teacher to use. The materials state, “Help student groups review their conjectures in light of their research, and, if necessary, make revisions. Continue to give students time to do research.”

Criterion 2g - 2h

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

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Criterion Rating Details

The materials provide coverage of the standards throughout all units and over the course of the year, however, the preponderance of repetitive, unaligned reading strategies throughout the program moves the focus of the instruction, questions, tasks, and assessments away from a tight focus on grade level standards alignment. The program also contains a large volume of material without a suggested daily schedule; therefore, a full and standards-aligned implementation could be challenging.

Indicator 2g

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2g.

Over the course of each unit, some of the instruction, questions, tasks, and assessment questions align to grade level standards; however, a significant amount of time is spent on comprehension strategies that do not align to the standards. These comprehension strategies include predicting, cause and effect, making inferences, visualizing, and making connections. Over the course of the year, many of these strategies are repeated and do not support knowledge building and growth toward mastery of grade level standards. The assessment components may help the teacher to confirm progress toward mastery of some standards, yet may not provide a strong picture of the depth of the knowledge and skills built during the unit as many assessment questions focus on unaligned comprehension strategies. An intervention guide is provided to differentiate instruction for students, but most differentiated instruction uses the same materials with question or activity scaffolds. Some differentiated activities fall short of meeting the standards, particularly for students working below-level. 

Over the course of each unit, some instruction is aligned to grade-level standards. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, Day 2, Language Arts, students revise their opinion writing (W.3.5). The Teacher Edition provides a writing checklist for the teacher and students to use as well as modeling for the teacher to use. During the Guided Practice portion, the materials state, “Model using proofreading symbols to add descriptive details and make any other revision to the opinion writing paragraph. Request that students support you as you revise the paragraph, and incorporate their suggestions as well.”

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 1, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, the teacher models the use of the comprehension strategies Visualizing and Asking and Answering Questions (RI.3.1), during the first read of Storm Chasers by Allana Parker. Students look specifically for descriptive nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and sensory language that appeal to their five senses when attempting to visualize, so that it may help them understand and better engage with the text. Students are also provided with standards-aligned sample questions to encourage them to ask questions when they read an informational text, including, “What is this text mostly about? What evidence has the author provided to support the main idea? How has the information been organized? What information is provided by the photographs, charts, and diagrams? What does the author mean when he or she says__________? How are _______and _________alike and different?” For students struggling with these skills, teachers may use the Intervention Teacher’s Guide during Workshop to reteach the Visualizing and Asking and Answering Questions comprehension strategies. The Visualizing Strategy is not aligned to grade-level standards. 

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 1, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students read A New Life for Mei by Judy Kentor Schmauss. During this lesson, the students focus on the comprehension strategy of predicting. The Teacher Edition provides a prompt for the teacher, “Review that engaged readers make predictions as they read a story. They use details from the text and their own knowledge of the world and human nature to guess what will happen next. Then they read on to find out whether their predictions have been confirmed.” This lesson does not address grade-level standards. 

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 4, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students review sequencing before rereading The United States Capitol by Holly Karapetkova. The materials state, “Review with students that sequence is the order in which events happen in time. Remind students to look for time-order words in the text that will help them determine sequence, such as first, next, finally, then, and yesterday.” The materials have the teacher prompt students to help them sequence events from the text. (RI.3.3)

Over the course of each unit, some of the questions and tasks are aligned to grade-level standards. However, some questions are focused on repeated comprehension strategies that do not build knowledge nor align to grade-level standards. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • In Unit 1, Getting Started, Day 1, prior to the read-aloud of a retelling/adaptation of the Jules Vern text, Around the World in 80 Days, the teacher is reminded to teach the following comprehension strategies to students: Predicting, Asking and Answering Questions, Visualizing, Summarizing, Making Connections, and Clarifying on the board. Students tell what they know about each one. These strategies are not aligned to the standards for this grade level, and yet they form the foundation for roughly a quarter of the questions across the program. 

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 1, Day 4, during Reading and Responding in the Student Anthology, the Look Closer section provides students an opportunity to revisit the text selection with a focus on the lessons. Skills and standards from the previous days’ lessons are revisited in the Look Closer questions, “Why is driving usually the most dangerous part of being a storm chaser? What is the main idea of this selection? List three details that support the main idea.” (RI.3.1-2)

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 4, Day 1, during Reading and Responding, students are able to focus on multiple standards/skills. This opportunity arises in the Discuss the Selection section when students use the Handing-Off Routine to discuss Amazing Animals. Students review the general rules for discussions, such as speaking one at a time, listening respectfully, and staying on topic. Students are encouraged to build on each other’s conversations by connecting their comments to the comments of others. (SL.3.1, SL3.1.b-c) Teachers use discussion questions for the text selection such as, “Which animals use their traits to run or hide, and which ones use them to hunt or work? Explain. (RI.3.1, SL.3.1.a) Which animal trait described in the selection do you find most amazing? Why?” (SL.3.1.D)

  • In Unit 6, Lesson 2, Day 2, during Reading and Responding, students read Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown. While reading, students focus on the comprehension strategy of sequencing. The Teacher Edition provides the prompt for teachers to use, “Ask students to identify the sequence of events on pages 342-343. Have students explain why she and her mother have to move.” (RL.3.3)

Over the course of each unit, some of the assessment questions are aligned to grade-level standards. However, they may not address the depth and breadth of the standards nor the knowledge gained from the unit. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 3 Assessment, students analyze the text selection “Damon and Pythias” from Lesson 3. They are asked to, “Read the question below. Write complete sentences for your answer. Support your answer with evidence from the selection. Who do you think suffered more, Damon or Pythias?” (RL.3.1)

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 4, Day 4, during Reading and Responding: Look Closer, the assessment presents text-dependent questions that assess comprehension and writer’s craft. Questions include,“How have the students prepared for a tornado warning? Do you think the students are very interested in weather at the start of the play? Does their attitude change by the end? If you were going to divide this play into two scenes, where would the first scene end and why?”(RL.3.1, RL.3.3)

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 1, Day 5, during Reading and Responding, Formal Assessment example questions include,“What does the word scrutinized mean in this sentence: The hiker scrutinized the map to find the right trail.” (L.3.4.a)

  • In Unit 5, Lesson 1, Day 5, Foundational Skills, students complete a formal assessment within the Monitor Progress section. The assessment contains multiple choice questions asking about the prefixes re-, pre-, mis-, un-. One question states, “Which word has a prefix that means again?” with the options depeat, repeat, and mispeat. (L.3.4.b-c)

By the end of the academic year, standards are addressed within and across units; however the emphasis on unaligned strategies throughout may not allow students to fully master the depth and breadth of the standards. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Some of the standards are repeated throughout the majority of the units, such as:

    • RL.3.1-7 and 10 are found in all units. 

    • All RI standards are covered in all units; however, the coverage of RI.3.9 is limited in comparison to other standards.

    • W.3.1 (including all substandards) is found only in units 1, 5, and 6. W.3.2 (including all substandards) is found in Units 2, 4, 5, and 6. W.3.3 (including all substandards) is found primarily in Units 3 and 6. W.3.4 is found in all units except Unit 5. W.3.5 is found in all units. W.3.6 is found only in Units 4-6. W.3.7 appears in all units except Unit 1. W.3.8 appears in all units. W.3.10 appears in Units 3-6. 

    • SL.3.1-3 appear in all units. Some Speaking and Listening standards receive only minimal coverage. SL.3.4 appears only in Units 2, 3, and 6 for a total of four instances across the year. SL.3.5 is only found in Units 3, 4, and 6 for a total of seven instances across the year. SL.3.6 appears only four times throughout the year and is found in Units 1, 2, and 6.  

    • The majority of the language standards are found across the year, but some language standards, including L.3.3.a and L.3.4.d, are found only a few times throughout the year.

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
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 2h.

The materials are all grouped into six units over the course of the year. Materials are designed for 36 weeks of instruction plus an additional Getting Started week-long lesson in Unit 1. Each lesson contains five days with activities for Foundational Skills, Reading and Responding, and Language Arts. The core instructional materials are all contained within those sections of the materials. While the materials do provide a scope and sequence to help teachers plan their year along with highly-structured lessons that follow a similar format week after week, the materials do not include a daily schedule or time allotment for each section of the lesson. The daily plans and instructional routines do not explicitly state a suggested time frame or estimated amount of time per activity. Without suggested times for the various activities, it would be a challenge to fit the activities within these three components into the daily schedule. Workshop Time is the only portion for which a suggested time frame of 15-30 minutes is provided. Within the Workshop Time, the materials suggest using decodables and leveled readers, as well as providing time to work on the Inquiry project during Workshop. Optional materials do not distract from the core learning, although it can be unclear when optional activities should be incorporated. 

  • Suggested implementation schedules and alternative implementation schedules align to core learning and objectives. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The materials contain a scope and sequence for each unit. For example, in Unit 3 the materials describe the theme, A Changing Nation, and then lay out the three components: Foundational Skills, Reading and Responding, and Language Arts. The materials presented in the scope and sequence follow core learning, but a suggested time frame is not provided. 

  • An Intervention Teacher Guide is provided in the Resource Library. These materials provide lessons for all six units. The lessons in the Intervention Guide line up with the lessons in the traditional Teacher Edition, following the same path. 

  • The Curriculum Overview states that Foundational Skills include Phonics and Word Analysis, Oral Language Activities, Reading the Decodables, and Reading Fluency Passages. Recommended time for instruction is not provided.

  • The Curriculum Overview states that during Reading and Responding, students read each selection twice: the first time to practice comprehension strategies, and the second to analyze complex text. Students work with vocabulary every day using the Selection Vocabulary Routine. Students read a science or social studies connection text toward the end of each week. Recommended time for instruction is not provided.

  • The Curriculum Overview states that during Language Arts, students work on the writing process daily during this block. Spelling and grammar are also included in the Language Arts block. Recommended time for instruction is not provided.

  • Suggested implementation times and schedules are not provided for most aspects of the program. The volume of materials may be more than can be completed within the scope of an average school week/year. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • The Scope and Sequence provides a color-coded planner which includes Foundational Skills (green), Reading and Responding (red), and Language (blue) in that order. Each day begins with Foundation Skills lessons, then moves to the Reading and Responding lessons, ending with Language Arts. Recommended time for teaching and implementation of daily lessons is not provided. 

    • The Workshop Overview states, “Workshop can be implemented during the reading/language arts timeframe in a flexible manner. This can come before the core instruction begins, sometimes in the middle of the reading/language block, or at the end of that time period. Workshop may last 15-30 minutes, depending on the needs of the classroom.” This is the only time frame mentioned in the materials.

    • There are six units included in the materials. Each unit is made up of six lessons, with each lesson containing five days. There is also a Getting Started lesson at the beginning of Unit 1. 

  • Optional tasks do not distract from core learning. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Letter cards are provided to help students form letters. Penmanship videos are included to help students write cursive letters. The Program Overview suggests that the teacher should create a writing area for Workshop and, “The area should also have various Letter Cards and other handwriting models for those students who want to practice letter formation or handwriting.” These materials do not appear to have specific lessons, and are meant to supplement the materials. 

    • The Social Emotional Learning Content Guide illustrates how Character Lab can integrate with Open Court Reading. The Teacher Tips guide states, “Incorporate the Playbook or SEL outcome as part of building background and discussing the selection around the Essential Question.” 

    • Core and Practice Decodables: Pre-Decodables and Decodables give students practice reading at their own pace and allows them to listen to a fluent model of reading. Decodable Stories Takehome Books allow students to apply their knowledge of phonic elements to read. Each story supports instruction in a new phonic element and incorporates elements and words that have been learned earlier.

    • Genre Practice provides students with additional opportunities to read and respond to a variety of genres. Each activity contains one or two reading selections. Multiple-choice or written-response comprehension questions and a writing prompt follow the reading selection(s).

  • Optional tasks are meaningful and enhance core instruction. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Challenge Novels are intended for beyond-level students and are suggested as additional reading to what students already complete with the normal lessons. The Challenge Novels focus around the unit theme. For example, the Unit 1 theme is Respect. Students read the Challenge Novel Riding Freedom. During Week 1, Think about It, prior to the reading, students consider questions such as, “How do you show respect to others?” The Challenge Novel also contains comprehension questions such as, “In the first chapter, Vern tells Charlotte, ‘That boy is full of no respect for horses.’” There is not a clear expectation as to if or when the students are expected to complete these additional questions. 

    • The Visual Vocabulary section provides a brief video for vocabulary words. These videos provide audio of the word, the definition, an example sentence, and a picture to help students better understand the vocabulary. 

    • Technology and Digitally Enhanced Activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

      • ePresentation can be used during the lesson as a presentation tool of the elements within the lesson.

      • eGames provide students a way to practice skills learned in class from all key sections within the daily lesson including Foundational Skills, Reading and Responding, and Language Arts. These may be found in the Resource Library under “Games.”

      • eActivities give students additional practice with high-frequency words, comprehension, grammar, spelling, and writing. These may be found in the Resource Library under “Activities.”

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: 2021/10/07

Report Edition: 2016

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Open Court Reading CORE ELA Teacher's Editions Package 097‑8‑0076‑6669‑0 McGraw-Hill Education 2016
Teacher's Edition Vol 4 978‑0‑0214‑2399‑6 McGraw-Hill Education 2016
Teacher's Edition Vol 5 978‑0‑0214‑2400‑9 McGraw-Hill Education 2016
Teacher's Edition Vol 6 978‑0‑0214‑2401‑6 McGraw-Hill Education 2016
Program Overview Grade K-3 978‑0‑0214‑5682‑6 McGraw-Hill Education 2016
Teacher's Edition Vol 2 978‑0‑0766‑6705‑5 McGraw-Hill Education 2016
Teacher's Edition Vol 3 978‑0‑0766‑6750‑5 McGraw-Hill Education 2016
Teacher's Edition Vol 1 978‑0‑0766‑9098‑5 McGraw-Hill Education 2016

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