Alignment: Overall Summary

The materials for Grade 6 meet the expectations of alignment. The materials include high quality texts and tasks that support students' development of literacy skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. The materials are organized to build knowledge of topics and provide opportunities for students to demonstrate integrated skills. While many implementation supports are available, the teacher may need to do extra work to assure lessons are implemented with fidelity.

Alignment

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Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

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

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

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Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

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

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

Wonders 2020 for Grade 6 utilizes high-quality texts, including a variety of text types and genres. Texts are placed at the appropriate level of complexity for the grade and are accompanied by detailed text complexity analysis information.

The texts support students’ evolving literacy skills with texts that grow in complexity and engage students in a range of reading opportunities.

Materials include questions and tasks that build toward culminating tasks that allow students to demonstrate newly-obtained knowledge and skills through writing and/or speaking activities. Students are supported in evidence-based discussions of texts including expectations for the use of grade-level vocabulary/syntax and appropriate questioning.

Students engage in evidence-based, standards-aligned writing tasks, including both on-demand and process writing. Explicit grammar and conventions instruction is provided with opportunities for students to practice and apply these skills within their writing tasks.

Criterion 1a - 1f

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

Wonders 2020 for Grade 6 includes high-quality anchor texts that encompass a broad array of text types and genres. Texts are placed at the appropriate level of complexity for the grade and are accompanied by a text complexity analysis that describes the quantitative score and qualitative features as well as the reason for the placement of the texts in the unit.

The texts support students’ evolving literacy skills with texts that grow in complexity over the course of the year and engage students in a broad range of reading opportunities to provide both depth and volume of reading practice to achieve grade-level reading proficiency.

Indicator 1a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

The anchor texts are of high interest and include rich language and content from across multiple disciplines and cultures. The anchor texts are examined multiple times for multiple purposes and are used to expand topics and essential questions, build vocabulary, and prompt writing. Many of the anchor texts are already published pieces or excerpts of published works. The anchor texts support an essential question for each unit and include a variety of genres and topics.The texts included are well-written and content rich and provide students a range of interests and content focus including, but not limited to, ancient civilizations, decision making, exploration, economics, and natural resources.

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

  • Unit 1: Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell. This is a realistic fiction story about a young girl's experiences as she lives on a farm over a summer. The farm experience includes life as it was during the 1890s. This is a high-quality text that provides an engaging way for modern students to vicariously experience life without current technology. The illustrations are vivid and support students as they read. The story has a strong and reliable characterization developed through vivid language and dialogue.

  • Unit 2: Roman Diary by Richard Platt. This high-quality text is a historical fiction text presented in a diary form to give readers a fictional account of a young woman who was sold into slavery to Romans in 107 AD. This text gives readers a first-person account of what life was like in ancient Rome. The text is relatable to grade 6 students and is supported by illustrations that capture major events from the story. 

  • Unit 4: The Case of the Magic Marker Mischief Maker by René Saldaña. This realistic play features a mystery that is modern and age-appropriate for grade 6 students. This drama provides students with a high-interest plot with realistic dialogue. The drama is supported by colorful illustrations to support students' comprehension of the text. 

  • Unit 5: Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis. In this excerpt, students read a story about Elijah receiving a letter from the United States that recounts the death of the husband of one of his neighbors. This is an informative excerpt that discusses slavery and the consequences of slavery in an age-appropriate way. The text includes illustrations that support the text and provides students with examples of the use of dialect and figurative language. 

  • Unit 6: “To You” by Langston Hughes. This high-quality free verse poem is packed with rich content, is thought provoking, and covers themes with which students can identify as it uses imagery and descriptive language that evokes sensory experiences. “To You” creates rich text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections as the poet takes readers on a journey. He invites them to relax, dream, read, learn, and work together as they explore the possibility of creating a better world.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for instructional materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

Materials include a variety of informational and literary text integrated throughout every unit with a balanced representation of each through genre study. Additional works used to support the anchor texts (text sets, shared reading, read-alouds, and leveled readers) are included, resulting in a wide distribution of genres and text types as required by the standards. Text types and genres include historical fiction, poetry, drama, informational articles, digital articles, biographies, expository texts, argumentative texts, and historical accounts.

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

  • In Unit 1, Week 4, The Writing on the Wall (Author Unknown) 

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Roman Diary by Richard Platt

  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt (excerpt)

  • In Unit 4, Week 3, The Case of the Magic Marker Mischief Maker: A Mickey Rangel Mystery by René Saldaña

  • In Unit 5, Week 4, The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton

  • In Unit 6, Week 5, “An Ode to the Wind” (Author Unknown)

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

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Into the Volcano by Donna O’Meara

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, The Democracy Debate (Author Unknown)

  • In Unit 3, Week 5, Modern Transit for an Ancient City by Time Magazine

  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Seeing Things His Own Way by Marty Kaminsky

  • In Unit 5, Week 5, “Tools of the Explorer’s Trade” by Time for Kids Magazine 

  • In Unit 6, Week 3, Messages in Stone and Wood (Author Unknown)

Indicator 1c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

The majority of texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. The materials provide students with high-quality, age-appropriate texts. Most of the texts fall between the CCR 6–8 grade-level Lexile bands of 955–1155L, and those that do not are supported by qualitative measures that justify the text as grade appropriate. The texts that do fall below the appropriate grade band are found earlier in the instructional year, while later units increase to the higher end of the grade-level Lexile band and slightly over.

Examples of texts that fall below the appropriate grade band include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, the text, “Cow Music” is used as an interactive read-aloud text. Although the 770 Lexile places this text below the CCR grade band, the text provides realistic dialogue that may be challenging to Grade 6 readers. The text also provides a plot where the main character changes thus supporting the unit’s essential question. While the quantitative score of the text falls below the grade level band, the publisher indicates that the literary elements in the language of the text may be challenging for some students. This text also serves as a model of story structure for the study purpose in the unit.

Examples of texts that fall within or slightly above the grade band include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Weeks 1 and 2, the text, “Into the Volcano” has a quantitative measure of 960L which is within the stretch band of 955–1155L for Grade 6. This narrative nonfiction text is used as an anchor text to explore the essential question, “How do natural forces affect Earth?” The text is qualitatively appropriate, because it is rich in text and graphic features, such as photos, maps, and diagrams. The text also utilizes a cause and effect structure to discuss how erupting volcanoes continue to change the landscape of planet Earth. The structure and language are moderately complex as the text uses place names and volcanic terms that may be new to students. 

  • In Unit 3, Week 5, the text, “Making Your City Green” has a quantitative measure of 1060L. This is within the stretch band of 955–1155L for Grade 6. This argumentative text provides students with a model for argumentative text as well as a problem-solution structure. This also serves as one of the writing models for the unit. The structure and knowledge demands are moderately complex. Students will have to work to identify the embedded counter arguments as well as have a previous understanding of the terminology “green” when addressing environmental issues. 

  • In Unit 6, Weeks 3 and 4, the text, “Pharaoh’s Boat”has a quantitative measure of 1170L which is slightly above the stretch band of 955–1155L for Grade 6. This expository text is used to help answer the essential question, “What can scientists reveal about ancient civilizations?” The text structure and language are both moderately complex as the article does not have headings or clues to guide student understanding and the text includes historical Egyptian terminology. The meaning in the text is straightforward and will help students build knowledge about ancient artifacts that help us understand Egyptian burials for pharaohs and the challenge of building a boat fit for a pharaoh.

Indicator 1d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.).

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. The texts, both anchor and supporting, fall within the grade-level band anywhere from 955L–1155L and provide students access to increasingly rigorous texts over the course of the school year. The quantitative and qualitative analyses of the series of texts, as well as the scaffolds for the texts, ensure that students receive support with accessing and independently comprehending grade-level texts by the end of the year.

The Genre Study within each unit begins with an Interactive Read-Aloud which introduces the genre and reading strategy that is the focus of the Genre Study. Students read the Shared Read followed by the Anchor Text, which is paired with an additional text selection in order for students to compare and contrast texts. While reading, scaffolds include rereading to find text evidence, note-taking in a graphic organizer with text details, and collaborative conversations that support students’ increasing independence over the course of the year. Additionally, materials provide small group texts that support the genre study and the essential question at a range of Lexile levels, as well as a leveled text identified for ELL students.

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

  • In Unit 1, Genre Study 1, students read narrative nonfiction texts and practice using rereading as a strategy to clarify information in the text. Students also learn how to use key details in the text to identify the main idea and analyze print and graphic features, such as headings, maps, and models, to develop their ability to construct meaning from the text. Examples include:

    • In Week 1, Day 1, the Interactive Read-Aloud, “The Roar of Lava” (unknown author) with think-aloud guides serves as a model on how to implement rereading as a strategy in order to clarify information in the text. “The Roar of Lava” has a Lexile of 950 and is considered somewhat complex for meaning, structure, knowledge demands, and language.

    • In Week 1, Days 1–2, the Shared Read is “The Monster in the Mountain” by Marta Ramírez, which has a Lexile of 860L and is considered slightly complex in meaning, but is moderately complex in structure, language, and knowledge demands. Students practice rereading to clarify information and use key details in the text to identify the main idea.

    • In Weeks 1 and 2, Days 3–6, students engage with the Anchor Text “Into the Volcano” by Donna O’Meara, which has a Lexile of 960. Structure, language, and knowledge demands are considered moderately complex, but meaning is considered somewhat complex. Students apply rereading to clarify information and summarize text by using key details to identify the main idea.

    • In Week 2, Day 7, after reading the Paired Text, “The Volcano Lady” by Donna O’Meara, which has a Lexile of 930, students compare and contrast this text with what they learned about how natural forces affect the Earth and the effect that they have on each other. 

  • In Unit 4, Genre Study 3, Week 5, students read an increasingly complex text set in the narrative nonfiction and expository text genre. Students use these texts to answer the essential question, “How do people meet personal challenges?” In this unit, “Students read and write about how various individuals with personal challenges use their stretch to overcome them.” 

    • In Week 5, Day 1, students complete a shared reading of the text, “She Had to Walk Before She Could Run.” This biography of Wilma Rudolph has a Lexile of 990. This biography introduces students to the genre and falls within the CCR 6–8 Lexile grade band. Students use this text to practice citing evidence and determining the author’s point of view. 

    • In Week 5, Days 3–6, students read the anchor text, “Seeing Things His Own Way” by Marty Kaminsky. This biography has a Lexile level of 1050 and falls within the CCR 6–8 Lexile grade band. This text is also complex due to qualitative measures such as the organization of the text and knowledge demands. Students use this text to practice summarizing, and analyzing for craft and structure. 

    • In Week 5, Days 7–8, students read “Get Fit for Fun!” an expository text with a 910 Lexile. Although the Lexile falls below the CCR 6–8 Lexile grade band, the text is complex due to the technical vocabulary around exercise and nutrition. This text is also used as a comparison piece with the other texts in the Genre Study. Students use this text to compare with “Seeing Things His Own Way” by Marty Kaminsky. 

    • In Week 5, at the end of the week, materials include additional text suggestions for small group reading. For example, there are three Lexile levels for the text “Against the Odds.” There is a 780L, 950L, and a 1010L version. These texts match the genre and essential question for the Genre Study. 

  • In Unit 6, Genre Study 3, students wrap up the instructional year with text feature focus on lyric poetry and ode. Week 5 of the final unit introduces students to multiple sets of poetry to answer the essential question, “Why is taking a break important?” In this unit students choose from a selection of topics to draft their own lyric poem. They also complete a research and inquiry project about why taking a break is important. 

    • In Week 5, Day 1, students begin with an interactive read aloud of the poem “Ode to the Wind.” 

    • In Week 5, Day 2, students complete a shared read of paired poems including the one used for the interactive read aloud. Students read the less complex poem, “How Many Seconds?” (unknown author) to prepare them for the second read of the more complex “An Ode to the Wind” (unknown author). These selections support student analysis of structure and meaning and also introduce poems that are rich in imagery, repetition, and alliteration.

    • In Week 5 Day 3, students read paired poems, “To You” by Langston Hughes and “Ode to Pablo’s Tennis Shoes” by Gary Soto, as the anchor text for the Genre Study. Students complete theme graphic organizers and analyze the language and structure. Students also discuss the imagery in the poems and then write in response to the following prompt: “Compare how each poet shares his common message of the importance of taking a break.” 

    • In Week 5, Day 4, students read another paired selection of poems that complement the anchor texts—“Drumbeat,” “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.” Then, students compare these poems while analyzing the author's point of view and using text evidence from each poem to support a comparison. 

    • In Week 5, during the week, teachers can utilize a variety of leveled texts to use for small group instruction. Each text is from the science fiction genre on the topic of vacation or taking a break. Small group texts include: “Chill Out” (790L), “Liv’s Vacation” (830L), “Liv’s Vacation” ( 550L for ELL students), or “Vasca’s Log” (920L). Each of these leveled texts is also paired with an ode.

Indicator 1e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the expectations that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

Grade 6 materials contain a text complexity analysis that includes a quantitative measure, a qualitative measure, and a rationale for including the text. The text complexity analysis is accessible through the Teacher Resources tab online and in the Teacher Edition in the Genre Study Overview.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 5, students read “Making Money: A Story of Change” from Time for Kids magazine, which has a Lexile of 960. This argumentative article is slightly complex in meaning and knowledge demands, moderately complex in structure and somewhat complex in language. The article uses non-fiction text and graphic features, such as subtitles, illustrations with labels, graphics, and special print to create organization and effective visualizations that develop student’s ability to construct meaning from the text as they read about how currency has evolved in response to changing needs.

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, students read “The Road to Democracy,” an expository text with a Lexile of 990. This text is slightly complex in structure and knowledge demands, somewhat complex in meaning, and moderately complex in language. The text is used as a scaffold to support students in setting a purpose for reading by asking questions and using supporting details to identify the features of expository text. The text provides content knowledge about the Magna Carta and the Mayflower Compact and their influence on democracy in the United States.

  • In Unit 3, Week 2, students read “The Pot That Juan Built” by Nancy Andrews-Goebe which has a Lexile of 1000. The text is narrative nonfiction and is slightly complex in its meaning, structure, and knowledge demands. The text is somewhat complex in language. This text has visuals to support the student’s understanding of pottery making and the setting. This text is used to provide content knowledge about ancient pottery making and the influence of Juan Quezada. 

  • In Unit 4, Week 1, students read “Seeing Things His Own Way” by Marty Kaminsky which has a Lexile of 1050. This text is a biography and is somewhat complex in structure and knowledge demands. The biography is slightly complex in meaning and moderately complex in language. The language demands are supported by additional instruction on context clues and reference tools, as well as addressing complex sentence structures. The text is used to support the overall essential question of the novel, “How do people meet personal challenges?” 

  • In Unit 5, Week 1, students read “Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491” by Charles C. Mann which has a Lexile of 1080. This expository text is clear in meaning but moderately complex in language as it contains domain-specific vocabulary regarding life in Mesoamerica and archeological terms. The structure is also moderately complex; though the heading provides some guide for student understanding, the text includes use of dashes, colons, and dependent clauses which may be challenging for some readers. The text complexity analysis indicates that this text serves as a model for students to analyze expository text structure while building content knowledge of the history of maize and Native American peoples. 

  • In Unit 6, Week 1, students read, “The Story of Salt,” an expository text with a Lexile of 1110. This expository text provides a clear meaning as it details the history of salt. The structure is slightly complex but uses headings, captions, and illustrations to aid student comprehension. The language, however, is moderately complex as the text is content rich and contains domain-specific language, proper nouns that may be unknown to students, and complex sentences. Publishers indicate that student support for language and vocabulary will be needed, but the text is useful for building student knowledge about salt.

Indicator 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

Grade 6 materials provide students multiple opportunities to engage with a variety of texts in order to reach grade-level reading proficiency by the end of the year. Each unit contains three genre studies and an additional week of supplemental texts. Within each Genre Study, students engage with multiple texts to deepen their knowledge of the genre through Interactive Read- Aloud, Shared Reads, and Anchor Texts. Each Genre Study includes a Paired Selection that provides students with the opportunity to make cross-text and even cross-genre comparisons that relate to the Essential Question. In addition, Leveled Texts (Approaching, On, Beyond, ELL) support the Essential Question, while also providing scaffolds for independent reading opportunities. Materials include Classroom Library book titles for additional independent reading options within each unit and genre.

Instructional materials identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading and listening to a variety of texts to become independent readers at the grade level and engage in a volume of reading as they grow toward reading independence. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  •  In Unit 1, Genre Study 3, students engage in reading argumentative texts such as:

    • Interactive Read-Aloud: “Let’s Talk Cents!” (unknown author)

    • Shared Read: “Making Money: A Story of Change by Time for Kids

    • Anchor Text: “The Economic Roller Coaster” (unknown author)

    • Paired Selection: “Our Federal Reserve at Work” (unknown author)

    • Small Group Instruction Text: Money Changes by Andrew Gunn

  • In Unit 2, Genre Study 1, students engage in reading expository texts such as:

    • Interactive-Read Aloud: “The Road to Democracy (unknown author)

    • Shared Read: “The Democracy Debate” (unknown author)

    • Anchor Text: Who Created Democracy? by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge; illustrated by Jamil Dar

    • Paired Selection: “How Ideas Become Laws” (unknown author)

    • Small Group Instruction Text: Everybody Counts by Ken Benn

  • In Unit 3, Genre Study 1, students engage in reading realistic fiction and personal narratives: 

    • Interactive-Read Aloud: “Alejandro’s Music” (unknown author)

    • Shared Read: “Facing the Storm” (unknown author)

    • Anchor Text: excerpt from Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt

    • Paired Selection: “Confronting a Challenge” (unknown author)

    • Small Group Instruction Text: Bear Country by Susan Paris

  • In Unit 4, Genre Study 3, students engage in reading poetry: 

    • Interactive-Read Aloud: “Alejandro’s Music” (unknown author)

    • Shared Read: “Hey Nilda” (unknown author) and “Hi Rachel” (unknown author)

    • Anchor Text: This is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams, “to Mrs. Garcia” (unknown author) and “to Thomas” (unknown author)

    • Paired Selection: “Primer Lesson” by Carl Sandburg and “If I can stop one heart from breaking” (unknown author)

    • Small Group Instruction Text: Team Robot Ninja by Peter Friend 

  • In Unit 5, Genre Study 2, students engage in reading historical fiction such as:

    • Interactive Read-Aloud: “Lok and the Transcontinental Railroad” (unknown author)

    • Shared Read: Journey to Freedom (unknown author)

    • Anchor Text: excerpt from Elijah Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

    • Paired Selection: The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon 

    • Small Group Instruction Text: The Secret Room by Terry Miller Shannon

  • In Unit 6, Genre Study 1, students engage in reading expository text such as:

    • Interactive Read-Aloud: Technology in the Ground (unknown author)

    • Shared Read: The Fortunes of Fragrance (unknown author)

    • Anchor Text: excerpt from The Story of Salt by Mark Kurlansky; illustrated by S.D. Schindler

    • Paired Selection: “The Not-So-Golden Touch” (unknown author)

    • Small Group Instruction Text: The Spice Trade by David Murphy

Criterion 1g - 1n

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

Wonders 2020 for Grade 6 includes text-dependent/specific questions and tasks that build toward integrated, culminating tasks that allow students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills gained through instruction through writing and/or speaking activities. Students are supported in evidence-based discussion of texts through the implementation of protocols to scaffold conversations as students’ oral language skills grow in sophistication. Use of grade-level vocabulary/syntax and appropriate questioning are encouraged during student discussions.

Students engage in a mix of evidence-based writing tasks, including both on-demand and process writing, that incorporate the writing types called for in the standards. Explicit grammar and conventions instruction is provided with opportunities for students to practice and apply these skills within their writing tasks.

Indicator 1g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-specific/-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). 

Grade 6 materials provide opportunities for students to engage with the text by answering text-specific and text-dependent questions. Each lesson includes questions and tasks that require students to return to the text(s) to answer questions or complete tasks via discussions and in writing. Students answer both explicit and implicit questions requiring evidence from the text. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, after reading the narrative nonfiction text, “The Monster in the Mountain” by Marta Ramírez, students reread “Looking Ahead” on page 5 and answer the question, “How does information about past eruptions affect people living near Vesuvius today?” Students then reread the text and discuss the question, “How does the author help you understand the ways in which Mount Vesuvius might affect people in the future?”

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, after reading “Yaskul’s Mighty Trade” (unknown author), students “Predict whether Yaskul’s trade will be successful or unsuccessful.” Student directions state, “Circle text supporting your prediction.” Students then reread “Yaskul’s Mighty Trade” and think about the setting and historical details and discuss the question, “How does the author help readers understand the historical importance of trade to people in the Kushan Empire?”

  • In Unit 3, Week 1, after completing paragraphs 1–4 of a shared reading of “Facing the Storm” (unknown author), students answer a series of questions including, “How does Amy react to the news about the storm surge? What does this help you infer about her?” and “How does Isabel react to Amy’s announcement that she is in charge?”

  • In Unit 4, Week 3, after reading The Case of the Magic Marker Mischief Maker by Rene Saldana, students write in response to the question, “How does the author use conflict to help readers understand Mickey’s decision?” Then the teacher asks specific questions, such as: “How does the author’s use of dialogue convey Principal Abrego’s conflict?” to help students analyze the text evidence 

  • In Unit 5, Week 3, students complete a shared read of “Journey to Freedom” (unknown author). During a reread of the text, teachers prompt students to reread paragraph one on page 35 and determine the point of view from which the story is told and why the author uses that point of view. After answering additional text-specific questions as a whole group, students then individually write in response to the following question: “How does the author help you understand Abby’s journey to finding her own inner strength?”

  • In Unit 6, Week 3, students complete a shared read of “Messages in Stone and Wood” (unknown author). While reading, students answer text-specific questions such as: “How does radiocarbon dating work?” and “How can this technology help in the study of pictographs?” Students discuss how the author structures the text to show how researchers have learned more about pictographs. After completing the shared read, students provide a written response to the prompt: “How does the author help readers understand how our knowledge of Native American pictographs has grown over time?"

Indicator 1h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

Culminating tasks provide opportunities throughout the program for students to show what they know and are able to do. During the readings in each Genre Study, students answer a series of discussion questions connected to the text and complete tasks such as graphic organizers to engage with the text. At the end of each Genre Study, students must make connections across texts and analyze a photograph to demonstrate their knowledge of the unit’s essential question. Students discuss the prompt with a partner, find text evidence, and finally demonstrate their knowledge on an independent writing task. 

Culminating tasks of quality are evident across a year’s worth of material. Tasks are supported with coherent sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Weeks 1 and 2, students learn how democratic concepts that began in ancient Greece and Rome served as a foundation for the development of American democracy. After rereading an excerpt from the Anchor Text ,“Who Created Democracy” (unknown author) in the Literature Anthology, students collaborate with a partner to discuss the difference between the rich and poor people in Athens. Students cite text evidence by completing a chart that represents the words and phrases the author uses to compare the people of Athens and noting the importance of each piece of evidence, ultimately building to the independent writing task, “How does the author’s description of the rich and the poor people in Athens help you understand how democracy was born?” At the end of the Genre Study, students discuss their understanding of democracy as explained by the authors of the Anchor Text, “Who Created Democracy?” and the Paired Text, “How Ideas Become Laws” (unknown author). Students cite evidence as they analyze a photograph that contains the caption, “This picture shows people voting at a polling place. A polling place is where voters cast, or give, their votes during an election.” Students make text-to-world connections as they respond to an independent writing task that requires them to compare how the authors and the photographer promote student understanding of democracy.

  • In Unit 4, Genre Study 4, Week 5, students read a collection of poems to explore the essential question, “How can we take responsibility?” Students begin by listening to the poem, “Alejandro’s Music” (unknown author), which is about a boy and a problem he faces. Then students read two poems about teens and how they take responsibility. Students read “Hey Nilda” (unknown author) and “Hi, Rachel” (unknown author) to learn about how poets use language and poetic devices to create meaning and tone. For example, while reading “Hey Nilda,” students learn about alliteration and answer the question, “What does this repetition achieve?” In the poem, “Hi, Rachel,” students learn about assonance and respond to this question, “What effect does repeating this sound help the poet achieve?” After reading, students add assonance and alliteration to their poetry anchor chart. The teacher then rereads the poems and provides a think-aloud for other sound devices. Finally, students work with a partner to locate examples of assonance and alliteration from the poems and discuss how these devices “draw attention to the feelings of the poem’s speaker.” 

  • In Unit 6, Week 1, students study the genre of expository informational texts and read the anchor text, “The Story of Salt” by Mark Kurlansky. While reading, students take notes on the main idea and key details using a graphic organizer. On the organizer, students determine how the details are related to determine a main idea for each major section of the text. While reading, students also answer questions such as: “What inference can you make about fuel?” and “How do the illustrations help explain the process for preserving human bodies?” Students also focus on text features such as map, sidebars, and timelines and how these connect to the key details in the text. Toward the end of their reading, students make an inference about the text and discuss what effect the abundance of salt may have on its value. This leads them to the culminating task in the Write About the Anchor Text section. Students respond to the following prompt: “How do the text features help you understand the rise and fall of salt?” This and similar tasks prepare students to write a research report.

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

Throughout the program, students have opportunities for evidence-based discussions in whole group discussions, small groups, and peer-to-peer conversations. Multiple opportunities for discussions are presented throughout the program including Think-Alouds, Talk About It, and Collaborative Conversations. Materials also provide an icon of two students working together to indicate opportunities to collaborate within each unit. Specific protocols presented in the Teacher Edition guide the use of evidence-based discussions. Further supports include, but are not limited to, videos and anchor charts found in the Instructional Resource Handbook. 

Examples of protocols used in the program for evidence-based discussions include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, students engage in a range of collaborative discussions with a partner or in a small group at the beginning of each genre study as they talk about the Essential Question that is found in the Reading/Writing Companion. Students use a Collaborative Conversations protocol, Talk About It, during this discussion. The use of this protocol occurs in every unit. 

  • In Unit 3, Week 1, students engage in a collaborative discussion using the protocol, “Ask and Answer Questions.” In this collaborative discussion, students work in pairs, small groups, or whole group to discuss the information they added to a graphic organizer that was started in the whole class setting about how a “challenge is often a transforming experience.”

  • In Unit 4, Week 3, students form pairs or groups and use the Collaborative Conversations protocol called, “Listen Carefully” to discuss the Essential Question in the Reading/Writing Companion.

Examples of opportunities for evidence-based discussions that encourage modeling and the use of academic vocabulary and syntax include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, students reread the anchor text, “Little Blog on the Prairie” by Cathleen Davitt Bell and illustrated by Craig Orback. As students read the text, they work collaboratively to record evidence of the words and phrases in Gen’s text messages that tell readers about how she feels and how it helps them understand how she is dealing with her new experience. The teacher models this strategy using guidance from the sidebar by reminding students that evaluating tone, or attitude conveyed by a character’s words can help them analyze his or her behavior and feelings. After students synthesize the information in the chart, the teacher provides them with a sentence starter: “The author uses Gen’s text messages to show…” to support their ability to respond to their reading.

  • In Unit 4, Week 5, students engage in a discussion about tone. After the teacher conducts a lesson on tone using the Reading/Writing Companion, the teacher models how to look for evidence of tone with the poem, “Primer Lesson.” Then students explore how repetition is used to create tone in the poem, “If I can stop one Heart from breaking.” Students then work with a partner to “...identify other literary devices the author uses to convey tone…”

  • In Unit 6, Week 1, students read “The Fortunes of Fragrance” (unknown author). The Academic Language list includes description, production, and descriptive details. Directions in the Collaborate section prompt students to work in pairs to discuss the following question: “How does examining the author’s use of descriptive details and text features help you understand the history of perfume production and distribution?” Materials include a Think Aloud model for teacher use to demonstrate how to use the academic language if additional support is needed.

The program also includes support for teachers and students on the various evidence-based discussions used throughout the program. This includes: 

  • The Instructional Routines Handbook includes the Collaborative Conversation Routine, which aligns with the lessons provided in the Teacher Edition, while allowing teachers to demonstrate flexibility and responsiveness to meet the needs of all students. This routine also presents opportunities for corrective feedback as teachers encourage students in things they are doing well while also redirecting discussions that may have gotten off course by suggesting statements or questions that will refocus the discussion. 

  • The Instructional Routines Handbook provides step-by-step instructions for teachers on how to support student discussions. For example, on page 27, materials provide an anchor chart to use with students in Grades 4–6. The checklist guidance states, “Refer to the text to find meaning and cite evidence.” 

  • Materials include Classroom Videos for the teacher and students to watch model teachers and classrooms. In the video entitled, “Collaborative Conversations,” the teacher in the video demonstrates conversational skills for students. In addition, the Instructional Routines Handbook provides a checklist for students and the routine for teachers.

  • The Teacher Resource Book includes a Speaking Checklist and a Listening Checklist to guide students when they are sharing ideas, presenting projects, and working with a group. The Teacher Resources also include Book Talk guide pages for holding book talks for argumentative, fiction, and nonfiction texts.

Indicator 1j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

These opportunities include whole group discussion and partner share activities. Materials encourage Collaborative Conversations throughout each unit. Students also have opportunities to discuss and present their research. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 4, after reading the paired selection, “The Writing on the Wall” (unknown author), students work collaboratively to describe how the author shows how the narrator changes in the text by thinking about how the character resolves his conflict. Partners share their work by comparing and contrasting the narrator’s feelings from the beginning to the end of the selection. 

  • In Unit 2, Weeks 1 and 2, while reading the expository text, “Who Created Democracy?” by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge and illustrated by Jamil Dar, students discuss how they could use the questions on page 111 of the Reading/Writing Companion to start an outline that will help them identify and gather information. Students collaborate in groups to create a slideshow presenting information about each of the three amendments to the U.S. Constitution. After they complete the slideshow, students present their research to the class.

  • In Unit 3, Week 5, students conduct a debate using information gathered from research. Students debate whether mass transportation or cars are a better mode of transportation. Students must follow the rules of debate and must have evidence to support their claim, as well as evidence to provide a rebuttal. 

  • In Unit 4, Week 1, students conduct a research project using biographies to explore how a person overcame a challenge. With a partner, each person brainstorms a list of possibilities. Then students share with their partner, and the teacher reminds students to “listen attentively, refrain from judging, and encourage their partners to consider all possibilities.” By Week 4, students present their written biographies. The teacher sets a timer, and students rehearse with a partner. Support for ELL students includes having students record their presentation rather than presenting in front of the whole class. 

  • In Unit 5, Week 5, students complete a shared read of “Tools of the Explorer’s Trade” from Time for Kids. Students work in pairs to discuss their responses to the question, “How does the way the author organizes the text and uses features help support his or her opinion?” Materials include a model response. Students use the provided sentence starters to share their summaries of the author’s claim with each other. 

  • In Unit 6, Week 3, students read the paired selection, “The Mystery of the Missing Sandals” (unknown author). During the Guided Practice section of the lesson, students work in pairs to re-read paragraphs 1–3 and discuss a series of questions about their reading. Teacher guidance includes: “Have partners discuss how these paragraphs help readers identify the point of view as first-person, as well as how a different point of view might have affected the story.”

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

The Grade 6 materials provide opportunities for students to write frequently. Throughout each unit, students engage in a variety of writing tasks. On-demand writing includes note-taking, graphic organizers, quick-writes, and responding to questions about texts during and after reading. Process writing includes research reports, various essay types, creative writing, and other projects. Students also have the opportunity to revise and edit their work in each unit.

Students engage in on-demand writing throughout the year, both during and after reading texts. Students often respond while reading to support comprehension or after reading to demonstrate comprehension.

Examples of on-demand writing found throughout the program include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 5, after reading the paired selection, “Our Federal Reserve at Work” by Time for Kids magazine, students write about how the author persuades them to agree with his or her opinions about the Federal Reserve in their Reading/Writing Companion.

  • In Unit 2, Week 4, after reading the anchor text, “Roman Diary” by Richard Platt and illustrated by David Parkins, students think about how figurative language helps readers visualize a setting and then answer the question, “How does Richard Platt’s use of figurative language help you understand what life was like in ancient Rome?”

  • In Unit 4, Week 5, students work together to write an analysis of the point of view in “Hi Rachel” (author not cited). Students use key details from the text that have already been identified in a graphic organizer.

  • In Unit 5, Week 3, students respond to a prompt in the Write About the Shared Read section. Students discuss and analyze the prompt, “How does the author help you understand Abby’s journey to finding her own inner strength?” After sharing ideas with their partner, students individually respond to the prompt in writing using text evidence. 

Process writing occurs in each Genre Study. Students examine a model text before brainstorming, drafting, editing, revising, and publishing their written pieces. Examples found throughout the program include:

  • In Unit 1, Genre Study 1, students engage in the writing process while writing a personal narrative essay about an important experience that had a strong impact on them. Students study a sample personal narrative as they read “Into the Volcano” by Donna O’Meara, before brainstorming on their own. Students then draft, revise, edit, and publish their personal narrative.

  • In Unit 2, students write a lyric poem. In Week 5, students explore an expert model of lyric poetry as they reread “Mummy” by Myra Cohn Livingston. Thereafter, they plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish their lyric poem.

  • In Unit 4, Week 1–2, students conduct research and write a biography on “someone that has overcome a challenge and achieved something important.” During the planning stage, students use print and/or digital sources to learn about their subject. Students complete a lesson on evaluating sources and citing sources. In Unit 4, Weeks 3–4, students revise, edit, and present their biography. In their final presentation, guidance encourages teachers to include visuals and multimedia.

  • In Unit 6, Weeks 1–2, students read model expository texts to prepare for writing a research report on a chosen spice. While completing this process, students also learn about the features of a research report. Students begin planning their research report with graphic organizers and selecting relevant evidence. During Weeks 3–4 of the unit, students draft and revise their report to publish it and receive peer feedback. Students also prepare a presentation for the class using visuals and multimedia to enhance the presentation.

Indicator 1l

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

In each Genre Study, students complete either a narrative, argumentative, or expository writing assignment. For some Genre Studies this includes creative writing of original pieces such as poems. Students study model texts, engage in a brainstorming process, and write their own story or essay. Students have the opportunity to engage in narrative, expository, and argumentative writing throughout the year.

Examples of narrative writing found throughout the school year include: 

  • In Unit 1, Genre Study 1, students write their own personal narrative about one important experience that had an impact on their lives. 

  • In Unit 2, Genre Study 2, students write a historical fiction journal entry about characters from an ancient civilization highlighting the everyday elements of life during that time. 

  • In Unit 3, Genre Study 1 and 2, students write a narrative story by writing their own realistic fiction story. 

  • In Unit 4, Genre Study 3, students write a free-verse narrative poem. 

  • In Unit 6, Genre Study 3, students write an original ode on a self-selected topic. 

Examples of opinion writing found throughout the school year include: 

  • In Unit 1, Genre Study 3, students write an opinion essay about whether it is more beneficial to shop for goods and services online or at a brick-and-mortar store.

  • In Unit 3, Genre Study 3, students write a persuasive article about an environmental topic of their own choosing. 

  • In Unit 5, Genre Study 3, students write an opinion essay about which group of people should be in charge of space exploration. 

Examples of expository writing found throughout the school year include: 

  • In Unit 2, Genre Study 1, students write an expository essay that explains a specific type or form of government.

  • In Unit 4, Genre Study 1 and 2, students research and then write a biography about a person of their own choosing.

  • In Unit 5, Genre Study 1 and 2, students plan, write, and revise a research report on the innovations and achievements of a selected historical civilization.

  • In Unit 6, Genre Study 1 and 2, students write, revise, and publish a research report on the history of a selected spice.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

Many of these writing tasks are completed with guidance in the student Reading/Writing Companion. In shared reading, students compose written responses to questions during and after reading. Most questions direct students to underline or circle evidence that will be used to answer additional writing prompts. After the anchor text, students answer a prompt in writing by using their notes and graphic organizer that were completed throughout the two-week read of the text.

Materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply evidence-based writing. Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with the texts. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, students read “Cow Music” (unknown author) and take notes to support answering the question, “How does the author show Celia’s feelings about living in the country change?”

  • In Unit 2, Week 5, students read the poem, “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. While reading, students identify the number of lines in the poem and the number of syllables there are in each line. Students also identify whose thoughts and feelings are shared in the poem and provide text evidence to support their response. 

  • In Unit 3, Week 5, students complete a Respond to Reading prompt to answer the question, “How does the author try to persuade the reader that it is possible to create a modern green city.” The teacher reminds students to “use specific examples from the text” to complete the prompt. 

  • In Unit 4, Week 5, students use textual evidence to explain whether “Hi Rachel” (unknown author) is classified as a free verse poem, a narrative poem, or both. 

  • In Unit 5, Week 3, students complete a shared read of “Journey to Freedom.” In the Write About the Shared Read section, students respond to the following question, “How does the author help you understand Abby’s journey to finding her own inner strength?” During a reread, students collect additional evidence to support their answer. 

  • In Unit 6, Week 2, students read “The Story of Salt” by Mark Kurlansky and complete a writing prompt to answer, “How do the text features help you understand the rise and fall of salt.” The teacher reminds students to revisit the graphs, sidebars, timeline, and images in the text to support their writing.

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Instructional materials provide opportunities for the teacher to explicitly teach each grammar objective and provide guided practice. Materials also include multiple opportunities for students to independently practice each new skill. The grammar focus is connected to the independent writing tasks. In addition to the grammar focus, each week of each unit includes a spelling focus, which provides opportunities for students to practice the conventional spellings of words with common spelling patterns and irregular spelling patterns. Students have opportunities over the course of the year to apply newly learned skills both in and out of context, however they may not be held accountable for application of the skills. The Teacher Edition contains Grammar Topics listed in the Suggested Lesson Plan at the beginning of each study. Materials also provide a Grammar Handbook provided in both the Teacher and Student Edition which provides students with an explanation of a grammar rule or application. Students have the opportunity to complete stand-alone practice including, but not limited to sentences, nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, negatives and prepositions, and mechanics.

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

  • Students have opportunities to ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive). 

    • In Unit 4, Weeks 1–2, students complete a series of daily lessons to recognize and correct ambiguous pronouns. For example on Day 7, students engage in a lesson on the different types of pronouns: subjective and objective. Materials include activity pages for students to practice the skill. On Day 9, students “find a piece of their own writing in their writer’s notebook and correct errors in kinds of pronouns.”

  • Students have opportunities to use intensive pronouns. 

    • In Unit 4, Weeks 1–2, students complete a series of daily lessons to recognize and correct ambiguous pronouns. For example, on Day 6, students engage in a lesson on the different types of pronouns including, but not limited to, intensive pronouns. Materials include activity pages for students to practice the skill. On Day 9, students “find a piece of their own writing in their writer’s notebook and correct errors in kinds of pronouns.”

  • Students have opportunities to recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.

    • In Unit 4, Week 5, students complete a series of daily lessons about pronouns. For example, on Day 3, students engage in a lesson on using singular and plural pronouns. Materials include activity pages for students to practice the skill. On Day 4, students “find a piece of their own writing in their writer’s notebook and correct errors in kinds of pronouns.”

  • Students have opportunities to recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents). 

    • In Unit 4, Weeks 1–2, students complete a series of daily lessons to recognize and correct ambiguous pronouns. For example on Day 3, students engage in a lesson on correcting ambiguous pronouns by avoiding using pronouns referring to a hidden antecedent and replacing vague pronouns with a noun. Materials include activity pages for students to practice the skill. On Day 9, students “find a piece of their own writing in their writer’s notebook and correct errors in kinds of pronouns.”

  • Students have opportunities to recognize variations from standard English in their own and others’ writing and speaking and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language. 

    • In Unit 4, Weeks 1–2, students begin to plan to write a biography. During the planning, the students consider their purpose and audience. Teacher direction includes: “Guide students to make a connection between their audience and the type of language they should use. Ask: ‘How might your audience respond to a biography written in formal language? How about informal language?’” Then students state whether they will use formal or informal language to support the purpose of their biography. 

    • In Unit 5, Week 3, Day 2, students read Journey to Freedom. After reading, they return to the text to examine it for text evidence of how dialect may indicate a character’s time period or geographical location. They are directed to a specific place in the text (the letters written between characters). Then, students are directed to find another example of dialect within the text and explain why an author might include it within a story. 

    • In Unit 6, Week 3, Genre Study 2, the Grammar section of the Teacher Edition provides additional practice for students to identify and correct double negatives in their peers’ speaking and writing. For example, on Day 2, teachers prompt students to “have one partner use a negative in a sentence. Then have the other partner create a sentence on the same topic with a different negative. Ask pairs to combine their sentences so that each new sentence contains two negative clauses but no double negatives.” Then, on Day 4, teachers “[h]ave students find a piece of their own writing in their writer’s notebook and correct errors in negatives. See Practice Book page 328.”

  • Students have opportunities to use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements. 

    • In Unit 1, Weeks 3 & 4, Day 8, during the Grammar portion of the lesson, the teacher explains, “Some dependent clauses are essential to the meaning of a sentence. Do not use commas to set off these clauses. Some clauses are nonessential. They do not affect the basic meaning of the sentence. Use commas to set off these clauses. Dashes or parentheses can also set off nonessential clauses.” Students practice in the Practice Book on page 39. On Day 9, students extend that practice by addressing punctuation issues in the following incorrect sentences: “1. Before the show started our group found their seats; 2. The book, that you read last year, is one of my favorites; 3. Gina’s bike the one everyone likes sold for a high price; and 4. My Aunt May who is a famous singer moved to Chicago.” Then, students exchange the personal narratives they are writing and search for punctuation issues with combined sentences or the use of nonessential clauses in their peers’ writing.

    • In Unit 2, Week 5, Day 3, during the Grammar portion of the lesson, the teacher explains that commas are used to set off nonessential appositives (e.g., The cake, a chocolate one, was delicious.). The prize went to Des, my buddy). Dashes are used to show a strong break in thought within a sentence (e.g., A snake—it was so long—appeared by my boot.). Parentheses are used to set off nonessential facts within a sentence. (e.g., She hit more home runs (38 in 2008) than any other catcher.). Students trade papers and check the spellings. Students practice in the Practice Book page 111 or online activity.

    • In Unit 6, Week 4, students are practicing proofreading as they prepare for peer conferences. The teacher posts an incorrect sentence that they may find in their peer’s expository essay on a spice. Then the class works together to correct the sentence. For example, teachers are prompted: “Write this text on the board: turmeric is a spice, when it is ground up it forms a bright yellow powder, it is often used to add color to foods such as soup and sauces. Proofread and edit as a class. (Turmeric is a spice that, when it is ground up, forms a bright yellow powder. It is often used to add color to foods, such as soup and sauces.) Ask students to list on page 128 two mistakes they found when using the Editing Checklist. Invite volunteers to share a mistake and its correction. Ask: How did the checklist help you find and correct the mistake?”

  • Students have opportunities to spell correctly. 

    • In Unit 3, Weeks 1-2, students have an opportunity for spelling lessons and practice. Each week students are provided with a spelling list with a commonality such as, but not limited to phonetic pattern, common prefix, or common misspelled words. For example in Unit 1, Week 1, the spelling words all are multisyllabic words with the vowel team pattern such as exploit, shoulder, and moisten. On day 1, teachers can assign a pre-test from the Practice Book and then teach the spelling words. On day 2, the teacher reviews words with the consonant-le pattern from the spelling word list. On day 3, students use a sentence frame to practice the spelling words. On day 4, students correct sentences for misspelling. On day 5, students complete an assessment using Dictation Sentences. 

    • In Unit 4, Weeks 3-4, before students publish their final draft of their biography, they are given the opportunity to use an editing checklist to edit and proofread with a partner. The students are instructed to “Bracket any words that are misspelled.”

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

Texts are organized around genres studies focused on an essential question and topic. Sequences of questions and tasks support students as they analyze both content and craft within and across texts. Questions and tasks invite students to demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated (writing and speaking) tasks, including focused research topics. Cohesive, year-long plans support both grade-level writing and vocabulary acquisition. The materials encourage and support a volume of independent reading, both in and out of class.

Criterion 2a - 2h

32/32
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Criterion Rating Details

Texts are organized around genre studies focused on an essential question and topic. Sequences of questions and tasks support students as they analyze both content and craft within and across texts. Questions and tasks invite students to demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated (writing and speaking) tasks, including focused research topics. Cohesive, year-long plans support both grade-level writing and vocabulary acquisition. The materials encourage and support a volume of independent reading, both in and out of class.

Indicator 2a

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

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

Grade 6 materials provide opportunities for students to engage with texts organized into genre studies. Each genre study is a collection of texts that are organized around an essential question and topic. The instructional framework for reading the texts begins with students listening to an interactive read-aloud about the topic to build background knowledge. Then students participate in a shared reading of the topic before completing a close read of the anchor text on the topic. Students also read more texts to support answering the essential question through a paired selection to the anchor text. At times, this paired selection may also be a different genre than the study focus to demonstrate how other types of texts can also help to build knowledge. Differentiated texts for small group instruction are also related to the genre study topic as well. There are also suggested books to put in the classroom library that align to the topic.

Texts are connected by an appropriate topic that helps students answer the essential question of the unit. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Genre Study 2, the essential question is “What was life like for people in ancient cultures?” Students read and write about various cultural practices and what life was like for people in ancient cultures. Some of the texts in this unit to build knowledge include:

    • “The Special Guest” (unknown author): a historical fiction interactive read-aloud about a boy from a wealthy Chinese family living in the Eastern Han Empire during the reign of Emperor Mingdi.

    • “Yaskul’s Mighty Trade” (unknown author): this historical fiction text is a shared read about the importance of trade along the Silk Road in the ancient Kushan Empire.

    • “Roman Diary” by Richard Platt and illustrated by David Parkins: a historical fiction anchor text about the experiences of a young slave girl in ancient Rome.

    • “The Genius of Roman Aqueducts” (unknown author): the paired selection expository text that explains how Romans were able to bring water into their city.

    • Egyptian Diary by Richard Platt and Trouble in Timbuktu by Cristina Kessler: books recommended for independent reading.

  • In Unit 4, Genre Study 2, the essential question is “When are decisions hard to make?” Students read dramas and expository text exploring people making hard decisions.

    • “Treasure in the Attic” (unknown author): a shared reading drama “about a decision that two cousins need to make when they discover a long-lost family heirloom.” 

    • “The Case of the Magic Marker Maker” by Rene Saldana: the anchor text which is a drama about a young detective who has to make some tough decisions. 

    • “Dramatic Decisions: Theater Through the Ages” (unknown author): an expository text exploring how drama has been used as a platform for difficult decisions through history. 

    • Mixed Messages (unknown author): a leveled reader that explores a hard decision and is written as a three-act play.

    •  Decisions (unknown author): a leveled reader drama about a girl who has to make a decision about babysitting. 

    • The Missing Swimsuit (unknown author): a four-act leveled reader drama about a missing swimsuit and making a hard decision. 

    • Something Fishy (unknown author): a four-act leveled reader drama that explores the essential question of a character making a hard decision. 

  • In Unit 6, Genre Study 1, students focus on informational texts and text features to answer the essential question, “How have people used natural resources?” 

    • “Technology in the Ground” (unknown author): an interactive read aloud that explains how much of our current technology depends on metals found deep in the earth. The text also explains the challenge of retrieving the metals and the growing demand for these elements across the globe. 

    • “The Fortune of Fragrance” (unknown author): the shared read text that explains how humans learned to extract aromas from natural elements to create a successful fragrance market. 

    • “The Story of Salt” by Mark Kurlansky: this anchor text teaches students about the historical importance of salt. It explores how salt helped build ancient civilizations and empires as well as encouraged scientific discoveries.

    • “The Not-so Golden Touch” (unknown author): this satirical myth explores how human judgment and values about resources such as gold can be faulty.

    • The Spice Trade by David Murphy: a leveled reader about the historical supply and demand of the spice trade.

Indicator 2b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.

Grade 6 materials provide opportunities for students to analyze text through sequenced questioning. Students analyze texts through discussion, writing, and multiple reads. Questions generally begin with a focus on key ideas and details to help students later address the author's use of language or word choice, craft, and structure.

For most texts, students analyze language and/or the author's word choice. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Weeks 1–2, after reading “Into the Volcano” by Donna O’Meara, students answer the question “How do the author’s specific word choices impact the meaning and tone of this section?” Students reread page 19 in the Literature Anthology and answer “How do the author’s real-life experiences and descriptive language broaden your understanding of volcanoes?”

  • In Unit 3, Week 1–2, after students read an excerpt of Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidtt, the teacher directs the students to go back and reread the excerpt and answer the question, “In Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, what tone did Gary D. Schmidt create by using vivid verbs to describe Turner’s experiences?” 

  • In Unit 5, Week 5, students read “Tools of the Explorer’s Trade” from Time for Kids. Students respond to the question, “How does the author feel about the use of the North Star and the astrolabe as a navigational tool?”  Then students discuss how the author’s word choice helps the reader understand the point of view. Materials provide the teacher with specific phrases from the text to monitor the student responses. 

For most texts, students analyze key ideas and details. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 5, students read “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelly and practice the skill of identifying the theme by using key details. To help build the skill, students answer the questions: “What details tell what happened to the statue of Ozymandias?” and “What message do these details help the poet convey?”

  • In Unit 3, Week 5, after students read “Make Your City Green” (unknown author), students reread paragraph 2 and answer the questions: “According to the author, what is the difference between modern and outdated buildings?” and “What benefits of a green rooftop does the author include?”

  • In Unit 5, Weeks 3–4, students complete a shared read of “Journey to Freedom” (unknown author). During the reading, students stop after specified paragraphs to discuss and track key details as they answer a series of questions including the following: “ Why does father scold Abigail? “How does Abby feel about her meeting with Mr. Carrington?” “Why does Abby tell Mr. Carrington that the herbs were for a cake?”

For most texts, students analyze craft and structure. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Weeks 3–4, students read “Little Blog on the Prairie” by Cathleen Davitt Bell and illustrated by Craig Orback, and answer questions, such as “How does the author use Gen’s text messages to help you understand how she is dealing with her new experience?” 

  • In Unit 4, Week 1–2, as students read “She Had to Walk Before She Could Run” (unknown author), they look at a photograph and the table in the texts to respond to the following question: “How does the photograph support the information in the table?” Then students discuss “Why did the author include the table instead of giving the information in a paragraph.”

  • In Unit 6, Weeks 3–4, students complete a shared read of “Messages in Stone and Wood” (unknown author). In the Author’s Craft section, students answer the following question: “How [is] this heading formatted differently from the others in the selection?” After students notice the quotation marks in the heading, they then answer this question: “What does this tell you about the author’s purpose for this section?”

Indicator 2c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

Grade 6 materials provide opportunities for students to engage with texts and text-dependent questions that help build knowledge. All lessons include sequenced sets of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge. 

Sets of questions and tasks support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas in single texts across the year. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, students read " The Democracy Debate" (unknown author) and answer questions such as: “How did Aristotle believe a democracy should be run?” “How do Cicero’s ideas help you formulate a question that you would like to answer?” Students also answer the following question: “How are Cicero’s ideas about democracy different from those of Socrates?”

  • In Unit 3, Week1–2, students read a personal narrative, “Confronting a Challenge” (unknown author) and answer a series of questions including, but not limited to the following:  “What is the narrator’s challenge? How does the author show how the narrator changes from the beginning of the story to the end? How can a role model help someone overcome challenges?”

  • In Unit 4, Week 3-4, students read the drama, The Case of the Magic Marker Mischief Maker by Rene Saldana and answer a series of questions including, but not limited to the following:  “What do the stage directions tell you about how Mickey feels? How does the author use what the characters say to create dialogue? Why does Mrs. Abrego say it was easy to jump to conclusions about Buncho? What does Mickey say when Principal Abrego asks him, ‘Can you help me?’ How does the author use what Buncho says to help you understand Bucho’s character?”

  • In Unit 6, Weeks 3–4, students read the informational text, “Pharaoh's Boat” (unknown author).  During reading, students answer a sequence of questions, such as: “How does the author help you understand Mallakh’s feeling of history?” and “How does the author help you understand Ahmed’s struggle to rebuild the ancient ship?” After reading, students summarize and analyze what they have read to answer the following question: “Why does the author include the history of pharaohs and their importance to Egyptian culture?”

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

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, students read “Into the Volcano” and “The Volcano Lady“ by Donna O’Meara. Students use notes taken from multiple texts to answer the essential question, “How do natural forces affect Earth?” Students discuss what they have learned from each text about how erupting volcanoes continue to change the landscape of planet Earth. Then students write in response to the following prompt that integrates ideas from two texts and a photograph: “How is the way the artist uses color and technique to paint the ocean similar to the way Donna O’Meara uses words and phrases to describe volcanoes in the selections you read this week?”

  • In Unit 4, Week 5, students read the poem, “Primer Lesson” by Carl Sandburg and the poem, “If I can stop one Heart from breaking” by Emily Dickinson. When reading “Primer Lesson” students answer this question: “How does the descriptive language...help you understand the poem’s message?” Then while reading  “If I can stop one Heart from breaking” students respond to the following question: “How does the language indicate the speaker’s feelings?” After reading both poems, students answer these questions: “What are these two poems saying about responsibility?” and “How are these poems similar to others you have read about being answerable for your actions?” 

  • In Unit 5, Week 2, students complete reading the anchor text, Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491 by Charles C. Mann and complete a writing prompt about how the author uses text features to help the reader understand the importance of the innovation of maize. Then, students read the paired selection, “Looking Back to Move Forward,” which focuses on how ancient medicinal practices can inform modern science and innovation. After answering a series of questions that highlight key details in the paired selection, students analyze and compare the texts through the lens of the essential question, “How do people benefit from innovation?” Then, students use the notes they took to demonstrate how both texts are similar and different.

Indicator 2d

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

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

Culminating tasks provide opportunities throughout the program for students to show what they know and are able to do. Students complete writing prompts or similar tasks after reading the shared read and anchor text in each Genre Study. At the end of each Genre Study, students complete a Show What you Learned task to make connections across all the readings in that study. Students discuss the prompt with a partner, find text evidence, and finally demonstrate their knowledge on an independent writing task.

Culminating tasks of quality are evident across a year’s worth of material. Tasks are supported with coherent sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, the Genre Study focuses on realistic fiction that helps answer the essential question, “How do new experiences offer new perspectives?” Throughout this Genre Study, students read realistic fiction texts, such as “Little Blog on the Prairie,” “Cow Music,” and “The Writing on the Wall” to respond to this essential question. Students answer text-based questions and complete tasks such as graphic organizers that help them better understand how characters interact and authors use imagery. For the culminating task at the end, students make text connections between the anchor text and the paired text by answering the question, “How is the sculptor in the photograph using art to share a perspective in the same way that the characters do in ‘Little Blog on the Prairie’ and ‘The Writing on the Wall’?” Using a checklist as a guide for a successful presentation, students are expected to rehearse their presentation, present ideas in a logical sequence, speak slowly and clearly using persuasive tone and expression, and engage directly with the audience by making eye contact and answering questions. 

  • In Unit 3, Week 5, the Genre Study focuses on argumentative texts to answer the essential question, “What steps can people take to promote a healthier environment?” Students read several argumentative texts throughout the unit to answer this question and engage in discussing the texts with a partner and writing about them. Students read texts with environmental themes including, but not limited to the following:  “Make Your City Green,” “Stewards of the Environment,” and “Modern Transit for an Ancient City.” As students read “Make Your City Green,” students discuss questions to support the essential question including, but not limited to the following:  “Why are native plants good for the environment?” and “How are citizens of green cities solving the problem of imported plants?” Students write a response to the prompt, “How does the author try to persuade the reader that it is possible to create a modern green city?” Students write a persuasive article of their own about an environmental topic of their choosing. The culminating task in the Show What you Learned section requires students to write a final response that synthesizes knowledge about what steps they can take to promote a healthier environment.

  • In Unit 5, Weeks 1–2, the Genre Study focuses on expository informational text and text features to answer the essential question, “How do people benefit from innovation?” Students read texts about ancient technology and innovating moves that changed the world. These texts include “The Science of Silk,” Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491,” and “Looking Back to Move Forward.” After studying how text features help the reader in “The Science of Silk,” students answer the prompt, “How does the author help you understand how people benefited from innovations in sericulture and silk production?” Then students read the anchor text, Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491 and use cause and effect to identify how the development of maize impacted the growth and culture of ancient Mesoamericans civilizations. After a series of questions during reading, students respond to the prompt, “How does Charles C. Mann use text features and organization of this selection to help you understand how people benefited from the innovation of maize?” Students then read the paired selection text, “Looking Back to Move Forward” and work more independently on analyzing how text features support reader comprehension. Then, to wrap up the unit, students use the anchor text as a model research report to begin planning their own research report on another innovation from a historical civilization. In the Show What You Learned section, students also demonstrate what they have learned about innovation across the Genre Study. 

Indicator 2e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. 

Grade 6 materials provide students the opportunity to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts and contexts. Students interact with vocabulary through practice exercises, reading in context, word families, and affixes. The Teacher Edition offers daily recommendations in the Expand Vocabulary Students to help students engage with the unit vocabulary. Students also keep track of their vocabulary words in Build Your Word List in their Writing Notebook. Students complete vocabulary tasks in the Reading Writing Companion and End-of-Unit assessments on the vocabulary strategy. Materials provide teacher guidance in the form of videos, articles, and a handbook. Materials introduce different academic vocabulary and other vocabulary words during the week. Materials also provide a vocabulary development component in the Tier 2 Intervention Vocabulary Teacher Edition booklet. This booklet includes Teach/Model sections to help support vocabulary instruction and also suggests routines found in the Instructional Routine Handbook.

Students complete vocabulary tasks before reading, while reading, and after reading. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Instructional Routine Handbook, teacher guidance includes a three-step routine, Define/Example/Ask, that can be used throughout the year to utilize the Visual Vocabulary Cards. Visual Vocabulary Cards are used in each unit. 

    • Use the Visual Vocabulary Cards to introduce new vocabulary words. Follow the instructions on the back of the card. For example,

      • 1. Define: Define the word in simple, student-friendly language.

        • To cooperate is to work together to get something done.

      • 2. Example: Provide an example of how the word in a meaningful sentence, relevant to students’ lives.

        • I cooperate with my sister to clean our room.

      • 3. Ask: Ask questions that require students to apply the word. They can give an example or explanation, or identify a synonym or antonym.

        • How do you and your family cooperate to get jobs done?

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, students read “Yaskul’s Mighty Trade.” (unknown author) The teacher introduces words in context and provides instruction for identifying the denotation and connotation of words. On Day 1, students work in pairs to decide whether the connotation of tossed, little, and shrewd from “Yaskul’s Mighty Trade” is more positive or negative. On another day, students talk about targeted vocabulary words, such as exotic and write about the exotic animals they might find at a zoo.

  • In Unit  3, Week 1, the teacher uses the Visual Vocabulary cards to introduce a set of eight vocabulary words to students. Students then practice using context clues to figure out the meaning of each word. Throughout the unit, students complete a daily vocabulary task with these words. For example on Day 6, the teacher displays the words context and achieve. After defining and discussing these two words, the teacher displays the word context and contextual. Students then work with a partner to look up additional words with the same root and discuss their meaning. 

  • In Unit 4, Weeks 1–2, as students read Seeing Things His Own Way by Marty Kaminsky, students add the words blizzard and treacherous along with a definition to the Build Vocabulary section in their Writer's Notebook. 

  • In Unit 6, Week 5, during Day 2 of the Expand Vocabulary section, teachers “help students generate different forms of this week’s words by adding, changing, or removing inflectional endings.” The suggested process for teachers is as follows:

    • Draw a T-chart on the board. Write incentive in the first column. Then write incentives in the second column. 

    • Have students share sentences using each word form. 

    • Students can add to the chart doing the same for horizons, and then share sentences using the different forms of the word. 

    • Have students copy the chart into their Writer's Notebook.

Indicator 2f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan to support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.

Grade 6 materials provide students the opportunity to write and respond to texts throughout the year. Within each unit, teachers prepare students for a specific writing task. Students read texts in the same genre as the writing task to prepare for their own writing. In addition, throughout the unit, students take notes and respond to questions by analyzing texts in the Reading/Writing Companion and in the Writer’s Notebook. Students write in their Writer’s Notebooks each day. Students respond to prompts, check their writing during independent time and make necessary revisions, write pieces they choose themselves, use freewriting and mapping to generate ideas, and write responses to reading to deepen their understanding. A digital writer’s notebook is offered as well.  As students progress through the units, they write longer pieces with more complex prompts that meet grade-specific standards as they work through the steps of the writing process. Materials include supports, such as student models and instructional videos. Guidance also encourages teachers to review students’ work and give feedback at any time.

Materials include writing instruction aligned to the standards for the grade level, and writing instruction spans the whole school year. Writing instruction supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 3, students read realistic fiction texts and write a realistic fiction narrative. Students write in their Reading Writing Companion while reading in response to questions and tasks. Examples that support their development as writers include:

    • In Week 1, Day 1, students engage in a shared reading, “Facing the Storm” (unknown author), and respond to the reading by summarizing the text and “including details about how Isabel changes by the end of the story.” 

    • In Week 1, Days 3–6 students read an excerpt from Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt. While reading students collect text evidence on a Theme Chart that they use to answer “How does Gary D. Schmidt use Turner's encounter with the whale to help you understand the message of the story?”

    • In Week 1, Day 5, students examine a model and create an anchor chart of a realistic fiction story and begin planning their own story on Day 6 and Day 7. 

    • In Week 1, Days 7–8, students read “Confronting a Challenge” (unknown author) and write about how the setting of the story advanced the plot.

    • In Week 2, Days 8–9, students begin to draft their realistic fiction story. Materials include writing lessons on narrative elements, including point of view and developing characters. 

    • In Week 3, Day 6, students participate in a lesson on word choice and receive time to read and revise their draft. Materials provide students with some questions to evaluate their draft for word choice and mood. 

    • In Week 3, Day 7 students peer edit by using a routine for peer editing. Students also use the Revision Checklist in the Reading/Writing Companion.. 

    • In Week 4, Days 8–9, students edit and proofread their work using the Edition Checklist in the Reading/Writing Companion. 

    • In Week 4, Day 10, students present their writing by creating a class anthology of their stories. 

  • In Unit 5, Weeks 5–6, students read and analyze argumentative texts and practice analytical writing to write their own opinion essay. Students write in their Reading/Writing Companion while reading and responding to questions and tasks. Examples that support their development as writers include:

    • In Week 5, Days 1–2 students complete a shared read of “Tools of the Explorer’s Trade.” After summarizing the text, students analyze the use of text features and the author's point of view in the text before responding to the writing prompt, “How does the author use text organization and text features to convey how navigational technology has evolved over time?” 

    • In Week 5, Day 3, students read the anchor text, “Out of this World” by Time for Kids, again focusing on analyzing the use of text features and the author's point of view. They respond to the prompt, “How does the author use text features to help you understand the evolving technology used in the space program?”

    • In Week 5, Day 4, students read the paired text selection, “Space Shuttles on the Move” by Time for Kids. As they analyze the text structure, students focus on a series of questions, such as the following:  “How does the author present a solution to the problem posed in the first paragraph?” and “How does the second paragraph convey this solution was a good idea?” Then, students connect the text features with the question, “How does the caption offer further support for the solution?”

    • In Week 5, Days 4–5, students study “Save our Planet” from the Literature Anthology as an expert model to help them plan their opinion essay about who they believe should be in charge of space exploration. They then begin planning and writing the draft. 

    • In Week 6, Day 3, students edit and proofread their opinion essay. 

    • In Week 6, Days 4–5, students publish and present their essays as well as evaluate their own writing using their Presenting Checklist in the Reading/Writing Companion.

Instructional materials include well-designed lesson plans, models, and protocols for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 4, Day 6, students conduct a peer review with a four-step routine. Materials provide sentence starters, such as the following: “I enjoyed this part of your draft because...” or "To clarify this idea, you could add supporting details that…” The routine, which is an important aspect of the writing process, engages students in providing constructive feedback and involves the following steps:

    • “Step 1: Listening attentively as the writer reads his or her work aloud.

    • Step 2: Beginning feedback with a positive comment about the writing.

    • Step 3: Asking a thoughtful question to get the writer to think critically about the writing.

    • Step 4: Offering suggestions that will help strengthen the writing.”

  • In Unit 3, Week 4, Days 7–10, the Reading/Writing Companion includes a Revision Checklist and an Editing Checklist for students to use to improve their writing. Materials also provide rubrics, and students evaluate their own writing using the rubrics. 

  • In Unit 6, students plan, draft, revise, and publish a research report. At the end of Week 2, students use their Reading/Writing Companion to help them plan their topic. Materials include a Topic/Example/Detail Graphic Organizer to guide students’ planning. Students then review the assignment rubric so that they know what features are important to write an effective research report. During the planning, students also examine page 124 of their Reading/Writing Companion, which shares a list of questions students should ask when evaluating sources.

Indicator 2g

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

Research projects are sequenced across a school year to include a progression of research skills appropriate for the grade level. Materials support teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge on a topic via provided resources. The Instructional Routines Handbook states that the Research and Inquiry Lessons have a suggested outline to use for projects throughout each unit/Genre Study. This routine includes:

  1. “Set Research Goals: Introduce the project and clearly identify the research focus and end product. During this time, students may generate inquiry questions, assign roles to group members, and/or create a research plan.

  2. Identify Sources: Brainstorm and identify reliable sources, such as texts read in class, digital media, print sources, and interviews with experts.

  3. Find and Record Information: Guide students as they search for relevant information from their sources. Ensure they take notes from various sources, find answers to their inquiry questions, and record information so they can cite their sources.

  4. Organize: Help students review and analyze the information they have gathered. They should identify the most useful information by annotating or highlighting their notes, using a graphic organizer to sort and clarify categories of related information, and identifying any areas where they need further information.

  5. Synthesize and Present: Guide students to synthesize their information and create the research product. Then have them plan how to best present their work and they may include audio and/or visual displays to enhance presentations. Before presenting, students check that key ideas are included in the presentation and they rehearse the presentation.”

Specific examples of research projects throughout the year as well as the skills taught include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Genre Study 3, students create a news report about a major economic downturn in U.S. history. This research project focuses on learning to generate and clarify questions about a topic. The project lasts for two weeks and includes details about the causes and effects of the downturn, as well as how the crisis was resolved. Students discuss their research plan and shared responsibilities. 

  • In Unit 2, Genre Study 2, students learn how to distinguish between credible and noncredible sources of information by finding relevant information directly connected to the topic they are researching in those sources. Students create a journal entry of a person from an ancient civilization. In this two-week research project, students combine facts from their research about the civilization with creative ideas about the person’s feelings and point of view, using appropriate pronouns. Groups discuss their research plan and shared responsibilities.

  • In Unit 3, Genre Study 2, students begin a research project in order to demonstrate the synthesis of a topic. The teacher models with the text, “Jewels from the Sea.” Then each pair or group selects a “craft made by a cultural, ethnic, or geographic group of people.” The final product is a formatted, foldable pamphlet. Students use a research process to complete this project: Step 1: Set Research Goals, Step 2: Locate Relevant Information, Step 3: Record Information, Step 4: Synthesize, and Step 5: Present. 

  • In Unit 4, Genre Study 3, students conduct research into a volunteer organization that interests them and use that research to practice using proper conventions in writing a formal email. Students brainstorm and research with a partner, gather and record their findings, and then craft a formal email asking for more information from the organization and how to join it. 

  • In Unit 5, Genre Study 2, students research the National Museum of African American History and Culture and select an exhibit from the museum. Over a two-week period, students practice the skill of paraphrasing as they plan, create, and revise a pamphlet with visual elements about the exhibit they chose. 

  • In Unit 6, Genre Study 1 and 2, students study an expert model of a research report to prepare to write, revise, and publish one of their own. In Genre Study 1, after reading multiple texts on how people have used natural resources past and present, students choose a spice to research. After choosing their sources, students then plan and write a rough draft. During Genre Study 2 students complete peer conferences, edit and proofread their work, and then, publish and present their work to their peers. 

Indicator 2h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Grade 6 materials provide opportunities for students to read independently in and out of class. The materials include accountability in the form of independent reading responses and a reading log. In addition, there are also steps for an independent reading routine that provides guidance for teachers. There are many opportunities for independent reading to occur throughout the day. The publisher suggests that students spend a total of 30–40 minutes participating in independent reading each day, and this includes both whole class texts, as well as independent book choices during small group time. Materials provide a bibliography in each unit and genre study for independent reading book choices that align to the topic and/or genre that students are reading in whole group lessons. In addition, materials include a School-To-Home letter each week that provides information for families on children reading at home.

Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • In the Instructional Routine Handbook, materials provide an independent reading routine for students to follow while the teacher works with groups or confers with individuals. The steps in the routine include:

    • “Select a book that interests you. Check the book to make sure it is the one you want to read (teachers should teach students the five finger rule to help students determine if the book is just right).

    • Read the book each day during Independent Reading time. Use the skills and strategies that you have been working on.

    • Think about what you’re reading. Use Thinking Codes to record your thoughts or write about them in your Writer’s Notebook.

    • Record what you’ve read at the end of each independent reading session. Keep track on your Reading Log. There are many suggestions for keeping students accountable for their independent reading in the Additional Strategies section of the Instructional Routines Handbook. Using a Reading Log is just one way suggested by the publisher. 

    • Share your opinion of the book when you are done. Tell a friend, write a review, make a poster, or ask a teacher for ideas.

    • Begin again! Time to pick a new book!”

Additionally the Instructional Routine Handbook provides guidance on holding Book Talks with students about their Independent Reading selections. The steps in the routine include:

  • “Summarize the story. 

  • Talk about the parts you liked best.

  • Talk about interesting words you found. As I was reading, I wrote down the word, avalanche. It is an interesting word, and at first I didn’t know what it meant. I read on and used context clues to figure it out.

  • Take turns asking and answering questions.

  • Illustrate your favorite part of the story and tell why it is your favorite part.

  • Use the “Steps in a Book Talk” and “Rules for your Book Talk” posters on pages 95 and 96 in the online Teacher Resource Book.”

The Teacher Resource Book also includes a tracking system that provides reading response forms for various genres, such as nonfiction and poetry. Students can also respond in their Writing Notebook without using this form.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

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Gateway Three Details

The design of the materials supports appropriate lesson structure and pacing and can be completed within a school year that allows for maximum understanding. Units provide adequate review and practice resources, including clearly defined and labeled materials and activities. Visual design enhances learning and does not provide unnecessary distractions. Most lessons, questions, tasks, and assessment items note the standards alignment; however some ancillary resources do not indicate a standards alignment.

The Teacher Edition provides support for successful implementation, including clear explanations and examples, as well as information on literacy concepts included in the materials. It defines the instructional approaches of the program and the research-based strategies included. Materials also include support for stakeholder communications.

The program systematically and regularly assesses student progress, though materials include limited denotations of the standards being assessed. Routines and guidance for assessment are present, including support for interpreting assessment data and determining next steps for instruction. The materials provide accountability measures to support students as they engage in independent reading self-selected texts.

The program provides strategies and support for all learners, including English Language Learners, students with disabilities, and students who are performing above grade level. A variety of grouping strategies are provided.

Digital materials are accessible on multiple platforms and browsers. Technology is used appropriately to support student learning and foregrounds supports that provide a deeper understanding of the texts and text evidence they encounter in lessons. Opportunities for personalization/customization and teacher-to-student and student-to-student collaboration are available digitally, including customization for local use.

Criterion 3a - 3e

8/8
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Criterion Rating Details

Materials design supports appropriate lesson structure and pacing. The program can be completed within the confines of a typical school year, and the pace allows for maximum student understanding. The units provide adequate review and practice resources, including clearly defined and labeled materials and activities. The visual design of the materials enhances learning and does not provide unnecessary distractions. Most lessons, questions, tasks, and assessment items note the standards alignment; however some ancillary resources do not indicate a standards alignment.

Indicator 3a

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

Materials are designed to immerse students in all areas of the standards and provide explicit lesson structure with embedded teacher direction, as well as recommendations for supporting all learners. Each unit contains three genre studies and a Unit Overview, which supports the teacher as they plan for instruction. Each unit includes teacher guidance throughout each lesson on implementation of before, during, and after readings and activities, while providing recommendations for scaffolded support. At the beginning of each unit, there is a Unit Introduction followed by a weekly overview that maps out the daily content being covered. Pacing for each lesson is appropriately allocated. Each individual lesson follows the same structure. For example, for each Genre Study, the lesson cycle begins with key features, a Reading Workshop that includes an essential question, academic vocabulary, a comprehension section that describes strategies and skills, and a phonics and fluency section. There is also a red checkmark notation that lets the teacher know that a particular skill will be tested. 

The Instructional Routines Handbook states, “In Wonders, the routines follow the same sequence of steps every time and slowly transfer the responsibility of the task to the students.” Routines effectively organize instruction, help set clear expectations for students, help teachers scaffold instruction, minimize instructional time and teacher talk, and maximize student participation. Many of the instructional routines are included in the online Model Lessons Video Library.

For each new text, students engage in an interactive read-aloud, a shared read, and an independent read of an anchor text. Lessons, questions, and prompts are sequenced so that the students interact with the text in increasingly more sophisticated ways, moving from a more literal first read to grasp the meaning of the text, followed by a reread with questions about craft and structure, and finally, synthesis and evaluation of ideas and information when reading the Anchor Text with a Paired Text. The questions and prompts are tied to the standards. Students write and collaborate using their Reading/Writing Companion while reading texts. Discussion routines and writing routines are regularly employed throughout each lesson. For example:

  • In Unit 4, Genre Study 1, Essential Question: “How do people meet personal challenges?”

    • Interactive Read Aloud: Going the Distance, the teacher models the comprehensive strategy, Reread. The teacher posts the Think Aloud Master 4: “When I read____, I had to reread…” to reinforce how to use the Reread strategy to understand the content. During reading the teacher models this strategy by stating, “I’m not sure what it means to be an endurance runner, I’ll reread this paragraph to find clues about what kinds of races Diane entered.” 

    • Shared Reading: “She Had to Walk Before She Could Run,” after reading paragraphs 2–3, students reread the two paragraphs and answer, “What did Rudolf do after the Olympics?” and then discuss, “...why the author decided to include these details.” 

    • Anchor Text: Seeing Things His Own Way, the teacher models the comprehension strategy, rereading. “The author describes some of the challenges that all mountain climbers face. One way I can check my understanding of these challenges is by rereading.” The students complete a Stop and Check by rereading and answering the question, “How did both planning and practice help Erik to work out the problems his lack of vision caused while mountain climbing.” 

    • Paired Text: “Get Fit for Fun,” students answer the questions: “What simple steps can kids your age take to meet the challenge of staying fit?” and “Why is it important for athletes to follow the rules of good nutrition?” 

  • Units and lessons include structures and resources for both whole group and small group differentiated literacy instruction. The lessons and supports for small groups link to the whole group lessons. Leveled Readers and Differentiated Genre Passages are provided at four levels—Approaching, On Level, Beyond, English Language Learners—and students practice applying the skills they used with the Shared and Anchor Text. An example follows:

    • In Unit 4, Genre Study1, On Level Text: Against the Odds (Lexile 940) “Reread to find answers to these questions: What big decision did Jim have to make when he was 18 years old? What did Jim decide?” Students complete a graphic organizer to help them “summarize how Jim Abbott met a personal challenge.”

  • In the Plan tab under the Weekly Planner, materials suggest time limits that help the teacher plan for that specific section. Buttons on the right side provide the standards for the day and the objectives. Some of the tasks include suggested time designations next to the headings of the selection in the lesson. For example in Unit 4, Week1, Lesson 1, materials suggest 10 minutes for the Introduce the Genre section of the lesson; however, there is no time suggestion for the Shared Reading section of the lesson.

Indicator 3b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.

For Grade 6 materials, the suggested amount of time and expectations for teachers and students of the materials are viable for one school year as written and would not require significant modifications. The materials include six units, and within each unit are three genre studies. Each unit is designed to span six weeks of instruction and align with approximately 180 instructional days. The sixth week in each unit provides time for review, extension, and assessment opportunities.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1:

    • Genre Study 1: Narrative Nonfiction: Weeks 1–2

    • Genre Study 2: Realistic Fiction: Weeks 3–4

    • Genre Study 3: Argumentative Text: Week 5

    • Week 6: Opportunities for students to review, to extend the learning, and to assess the skills taught in Unit 1.

  • In Unit 5:

    • Genre Study 1: Expository Text: Weeks 1–2

    • Genre Study 2: Historical Fiction: Weeks 3–4

    • Genre Study 3: Argumentative Text: Week 5

    • Week 6: Opportunities for students to review, to extend the learning, and to assess the skills taught in Unit 5.

  • The Teacher Edition for each unit includes a core option called Suggested Lesson Plan that helps teachers and students focus on the key standards that have to be covered by the end of the year; this pathway ensures that the standards will be covered. The optional pathway includes other standards that can be covered if time allows. Materials include a video that teachers can view that explains the Core Pathway option. The teacher types “core pathway” into the search bar and clicks on the “Using the Core Pathway” video. The User’s Guide assists teachers in understanding both pathways.

Indicator 3c

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.)

Grade 6 materials provide students with opportunities to review and practice, including the Reading/Writing Companion, note takers, leveled readers, anchor text, paired text, graphic organizers, model texts, writing rubrics, checklists, student practice worksheets, additional student reads, suggested library titles, book titles, reading responses, and student learning goals and rubrics.

Student materials include ample review and practice resources. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, students learn the compare and contrast reading strategy. Students practice implementing the strategy while students read texts in the Reading/Writing Companion and the Literature Anthology. While reading “The Democracy Debate” (author not cited), a Compare and Contrast call-out in the Reading/Writing Companion includes the following question: “How did Aristotle’s views on democracy differ from Socrates?” Additional questions and tasks regarding the implementation of the compare and contrast strategy appear in the following pages. Additionally, students practice and apply the skill by comparing and contrasting Plato’s and Aristotle’s ideas about government in “The Democracy Debate.” Students use a provided Venn Diagram to help them organize information. While reading “Who Created Democracy” by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge in the Literature Anthology, the teacher supports students to compare and contrast by asking questions, such as: “How were the concerns of poor ancient Greeks similar to those of American colonists? (Both groups were angry over taxes.) How were they different? (Greeks were angry because they had to borrow money if they couldn’t pay their taxes. If they couldn’t pay back their debts, they often had to sell family members into slavery. Colonists were angry that they had to pay taxes without having representation in Parliament.) Compare and contrast the two groups in your organizer.” On Day 3, the Teacher Resource Book provides: 

    • Decodable passages (16–20 titles per unit)

    • Spelling word cards

    • Student Reader Responses

    • Book Talk

    • Speaking and Listening Checklist

  • The Practice Book includes materials for students to practice weekly skills (organized by unit) in grammar, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, handwriting. 

  • Each unit includes a Shared Read Writing Frames ELL organized by genre. 

  • Graphic Organizers for reading and writing include a Venn Diagram, concept map, cluster/word web, compare-contrast matrix, and problem and solution chart.

Student materials include clear directions and explanations, and reference aids are correctly labeled. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 4, Day 6, reference aids are labeled correctly. Pages 46–47 of the Reading/Writing Companion include two graphic organizers for students to provide text evidence. The first organizer on page 46 is correctly labeled based on the task directions as Column 1 “Dialogue,” Column 2 “What Happens,” and Column 3 “How Characters Feel.” The task directions are as follows: “What words and phrases tell you how the characters feel? Cite and explain text evidence.” 

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 1, page 90 of the Student Practice Book includes clear directions for the spelling pretest. “Fold back the paper along the dotted line. Use the blanks to write each word as it is read aloud.  When you finish the test, unfold the paper. Use the list at the right to correct any spelling mistakes.”

Indicator 3d

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

Grade 6 materials provide Common Core State Standards alignment documentation in the Teacher Edition under “Plan: Weekly Standard.” Each lesson notes standards and includes links to the standards addressed. Additionally, the sequence of questioning and tasks in each lesson are labeled by a CCSS reference such as Key Ideas and Details, Author’s Craft and Structure, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, Language, Speaking and Listening, and more. In the Online Assessment data section, teachers have access to multiple assessments including, but not limited to, screening assessments, benchmark assessments, and unit assessments. The Answer Key tables for each of these assessments include the question number, correct answer, content focus, CCSS correlation, and the level of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge for each assessment question and task.

Standards alignment documentation is provided for instruction, questions, and tasks. For example:

  • The Online Teacher Edition Resources include a Plan tab, which links to weekly standards. This resource includes the weekly standards that are being taught, including the lesson in which each standard can be found. Standards include Grade Level 6, Language, Reading History/Social Studies, Reading Informational, Reading Literature, Speaking and Listening and Writing. 

  • In Unit 1, Week 5, standards alignment links for the lessons include: L.6.4b “Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., audience, auditory, audible).” (9 lessons). RH.6-8.3 “Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).” (3 lessons). RI.6.6 “Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text.” (27 lessons). RL.6.1 “Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.” (19 lessons). SL.6.1 “Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.” (1 lesson). W.6.4 “Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.”  (2 lessons)

  • In Unit 4, Week 4, standards alignment links for the lessons include, but are not limited to: L.6.5a "Identify figures of speech (e.g., personification) in context." (2 lessons) RI.6.1 "Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text." (6 lessons) SL.6.5 "Include multimedia components (e.g. graphics, images, music, sound, and visual displays in presentations to clarify meaning." (1 lesson).

  • The Grade 6 Benchmark Assessments Answer Key for Test 3 provides the standards aligned to the Performance Task.  The Narrative Performance Task contains 4 extended questions that are aligned to the following standards: RI.6.1, RI.6.2, RI.6.8, RI.6.9, W.6.2, W.6.3a-e, W.6.4, W.6.7, W.6.1, and L.6.2.

Indicator 3e

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

Grade 6 materials contain many visual aids to support student learning, including graphic organizers, response sheets, and real images that accompany the text related to the content in each unit. The Reading/Writing Companion contains uncomplicated iIllustrations and clip-art. The design of the materials is simple and visually appealing to students. The font, margins, and spacing provided for student work areas are also appropriate. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Materials include videos that introduce each topic around the essential question for each week, in addition to introducing vocabulary, building background, visuals for introducing the essential question, with graphic organizers so that they can be projected to use with students. Student materials are available digitally as well. Essential questions are also accompanied by a photograph with the purpose of student generated ideas and thoughts around the weekly topic.

  • Key routines/strategies that are to be used throughout the year are clearly marked by color or icons and placed within the materials for ease of use. They include:

    • Collaborate

    • Close Reading

    • Vocabulary

    • Differentiated Reading

    • ELL scaffolds

    • Digital Tools

    • Teach in Small Group

    • Analytical Writing

    • Fluency

    • Research and Inquiry

    • Responding to Reading

    • Classroom Culture

  • The Teacher Edition pages are color-coded by lesson type. For example, Reading is coded in blue. Language Arts, such as Grammar and the Writing Process is green, and Differentiated Instruction is orange. 

  • Additional color codes signal types and timing of questions/tasks. For example:

    • Red—Read: Questions that are to be answered/discussed during (Key Ideas/Details)

    • Green—Reread: Questions that are to be answered/discussed during additional reads (Author’s craft and structure)

    • Dark blue—Integrate: Questions that are to be answered/discussed after completing all reads (Integrate Knowledge and Ideas/Text-to-text Connections)

  • Color coding is also used in the small-group/ELL instruction sections: Approaching (orange), On-level (blue), Beyond (green), and ELL (purple). The teacher supports for differentiating are coded orange in the TE margins.

  • Access Complex Text is also clearly marked throughout the Teacher’s Edition with color coded initials ACT for easier references. These appear in a blue text box across the bottom of the page.

Criterion 3f - 3j

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

The Teacher Edition included with the materials provide good annotations and suggestions for successful implementation. The Teacher Edition provides clear explanations and examples to support the teacher, including explanations and additional information to deepen the teacher’s understanding of literacy concepts included in the materials. It also defines the instructional approaches of the program and the research-based strategies included. Materials define the placement and role of the ELA standards within the materials. Materials include strategies for informing and involving stakeholders, including families, of the student’s progress and ways to support their learning at home.

Indicator 3f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain a Teacher Edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

The Teacher Edition is accessible in an interactive format online and in PDF files and provides ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the Student Edition and ancillary materials. The digital Teacher Edition is organized by units, weeks, and days. The Teacher Edition PDF files are grouped by genre studies. Online files needed for presentation, as well as student materials and ancillary materials, are easily accessible in the interactive online Teacher Edition. The Teacher Edition provides direct quotes for the teacher to use in think-alouds and student explanations. Suggestions for implementation and correct answers for student questions and tasks are also found there as well as recommendations labeled Digital Tools that indicate how teachers can incorporate specific digital resources from the publisher. The Teacher Edition also provides guidance labeled Classroom Culture that provides strategies or reminders on building a respectful learning environment.

Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Weeks 1–2, teachers display the online Student Learning Goals for this genre study and read the key concept: Dynamic Earth. Teachers tell students that “they will read expository texts that focus on volcanoes” and “explain that they will explore how natural forces affect Earth and its people and will also talk and write about these effects.” Teachers read the “Essential Question on page viii of the Reading/Writing Companion” and “explain that movement below Earth’s surface affects what happens on the surface of Earth.” Teachers discuss “the photograph of the lava sprays with students” and “explain that volcanic eruptions are dynamic, which means they have forceful energy.” 

  • In Unit 3, Weeks 3–4, the teacher introduces the Genre Study through these teacher instructions:  

    • Display the online Student Learning Goal.

    • Tell students that they will read narrative nonfiction that focuses on what can happen when people work together for a cause.

    • Explain that they will explore why working together as a team can be very rewarding and productive, and they will also talk and write about this concept.

    • Have students read the Essential Question. Discuss the photograph with students. 

    • Explain that these volunteers are inspired to use their time and energy to build homes for people who can’t afford them on their own. 

  • In Unit 5, Week 1, while reading the anchor text, Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491 by Charles C. Mann, materials provide a Connect to Content box in the margin which helps teachers support student inferences and text connections about their learning about maize. Teacher guidance includes, “Maize changed societies around the world. Students may have inferred that the nutritional value of maize and the need for humans to care for its cultivation encouraged the growth of settled societies in Mesoamerica and became a key to their economic life. Students learn that maize changed societies in Europe and Africa. Maize became an important food source, but it also changed economies—and in a way that returned to affect the Americas, as well.”

Indicator 3g

Materials contain a teacher's edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.

The materials provide clear explanations and examples for the teacher to support his/her content knowledge and pedagogy. For example, teachers can access the Instructional Routines Handbook and Teacher Glossary of Terms for adult-level explanations of instructional strategies, routines, literary elements, and other instructional terms. Additionally, assessment concepts are defined in adult terms in the Assessment Handbook. Materials also include a Start Smart Guide which uses Unit 1 in each grade level to help teachers understand the overall lesson structure and purpose for instructional routines that are used throughout the other units. These additional resources provide information to deepen the teacher’s understanding of literacy concepts.

Examples include:

  • Adult-level definitions of assessment concepts are provided at the end of the teacher resource titled Assessment Handbook. For example, the following definition for a norm-referenced assessment is found on page 68: “An assessment for which a student’s performance is compared with the performance of other students. Norm-referenced scores do not tell how well or poorly a student did something, just how they did in relation to others. See the example under ‘criterion-referenced assessment.’”

  • The Teacher Glossary of Terms provides “...linguistic, grammatical, comprehension, and literary terms that might be helpful in understanding reading instruction. An example definition for close-reading is “a careful rereading of a text to deepen comprehension.”

  • The Professional Development category under the Resources drop-down menu, includes a Wonders Basics, Digital Quick Start, Manage Small GroupTime, and Start Smart online component for teachers that explains the aspects of the program. Wonders Basics provides an overview of Wonders. The key components include:

    • Curriculum Design

    • Structure and Resources

    • Classroom Set-up

    • Teacher Materials

  • Get to Know Your StudentsThe Start Smart section provided in the Teacher Edition of Unit 1 further explains literacy concepts in adult language. For example, page S10 of the Start Smart section states the following about academic vocabulary to deepen teacher’s understanding: “Using a consistent vocabulary routine ensures students gain the knowledge they need to successfully comprehend texts. Teaching academic vocabulary improves students’ ability to access complex text. General academic vocabulary is composed of words and phrases found in academic texts. Domain-specific academic vocabulary is usually related to a particular field of study.”

    • In Unit 3, Weeks 3–4, students engage in a lesson on voice and tone. The Teacher Edition provides a script for teachers as they explain, model, and engage in guided practice.

    • Explain—Share with students the characteristics of narrative nonfiction. The Teacher Edition provides three characteristics of narrative nonfiction for the teacher to use, “...tells information about real places, and events,... tells the story of a region’s economics…, expresses an author’s point of view or perspective, through a particular voice or tone.”

    • Model—“Point out evidence that shows the author is sympathetic and respectful of the women and their efforts.” Then a section of text evidence is provided for the teacher to use as a model. “Life...had often been hard for them. He also tells how responsible they were.” 

    • Guided Practice—Have students work with a partner to reread paragraph 2 on page 35 and find text evidence that will help them describe the author’s tone and point of view.

Indicator 3h

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.

Materials provide references to the standards and lists, including where to locate the standards within the program. Standards are addressed in the Weekly Standards section with links to corresponding lessons. A summary of key research and demonstration of program alignment to the standards is also provided in the Research Base Alignment resource which provides in-depth explanations of how the materials address specific literacy skills and standards within and across grade levels. Publishers indicate that Wonders is designed to meet literacy standards aligned to these key areas: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language, and Media and Technology. Publishers also offer a 5-day and 10-day Priority Instructional Content Guidance which explains how standards and skill categories are met through each type of schedule.

Explanations of the role of the specific standards in the context of the overall curriculum include:

  • On page 4 of the Research Base Alignment resource includes this information: Scientific evidence has identified several key processes that should be addressed in literacy programs:

    • Text Comprehension

    • Speaking and Listening

    • Phonological Awareness

    • Phonics and Word Recognition

    • Fluency

    • Vocabulary and Language

    • Conventions of English

    • Writing

    • Social Emotional Learning

  • The introductory material of the Instructional Content Guidance documents indicates “Wonders Genre Study in grades 2–6 provide in-depth focus in comprehension skills and strategies with recursive focus on close reading, analytical writing, and critical thinking with specific regard to citation of text evidence between multiple text. This research-based and recursive instructional path provides regular interaction and engagement with text through the gradual release of responsibility model and developmentally appropriate questions, tasks, and outcomes on grade-level standards as well as Webb’s Depth of Knowledge. Wonders explicitly addresses priority standards for Foundational Skills, Informational Text, Literary Texts, Speaking and Listening, and Language through every week of instruction.”

  • In the Teacher Edition, each Genre Study begins with an overview of Student Outcomes for each of the standards-aligned sections of instruction also identified in the Research Base Alignment document. For example, on page T205 of Unit 5, Genre Study 3, materials share this list of outcomes, including but not limited to: 

    • Comprehension/Genre/Author’s Craft

      • Cite relevant evidence from text. 

      • Make inferences to support understanding.

      • Identify the author's point of view.

      • Summarize text to monitor comprehension.

      • Analyze author’s use of text structures.

      • Identify and use text features, such as sidebars and graphs.

    • Writing

      • Plan and draft an opinion essay.

      • Write responses that demonstrate understanding.

    • Speaking and Listening 

      • Engage in collaborative discussions.

      • Paraphrase portions of “Where in the World Am I?”

      • Present Information about the development of tools used for space exploration.

    • Language Development

      • Acquire and use academic vocabulary [application, catastrophic, computations, deployed, elevating, magnetic, obsolete, subsequently].

      • Determine the connotation and denotation of words.

      • Compare with good and bad.

Indicator 3i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research based strategies.

A detailed User Guide that discusses the research behind a balanced literacy approach, guided reading instruction, vocabulary and foundational skills, social-emotional learning, equity and access, and writing is included in the materials. The User Guide includes research and descriptions of the instructional/educational approaches implemented in the program. The Instructional Routines Handbook explains more about the research behind the program and models evidence-based routines for collaborative conversations, word work, reading, writing and grammar, and research and inquiry. This handbook also explains the educational approaches and routines for making learning accessible for students with diverse learning needs and English Language Learners. Additionally, there are resources located in the Professional Development section addressing Equitable Access to Instruction, Universal Design for Learning, and Guiding Principles for Supporting English Learners, and Social Emotional Learning: Five Guiding Principles.  

Examples of instructional approaches and research-based strategies include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Instructional Routines Handbook, routines and instructional approaches that align with the research-based literacy practices are described. For example, to support making learning visible, the Instructional Routines Handbook lists the rationale for the use of rubrics and checklists. The materials state, “Rubrics and checklists are great ways to access your students’ learning and make learning visible. A rubric is a tool that helps you evaluate the quality of your students’ responses by listening skills and criteria for different levels of achievement. It also helps students see what is expected of them. In Wonders, there are online rubrics and checklists. You can also create your own rubrics at my.mheducation.com.”

  • In the Professional Development section of the online materials, there is a chart demonstrating the alignment of the Wonders 2020 program to research-based comprehension practices in the Research Base Alignment resource, located in the Research Base and Whitepapers tab. This alignment resource provides a thorough explanation and annotation of the research supporting the following literacy components: text comprehension, speaking and listening, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, fluency, vocabulary and language, conventions of English, writing, and social-emotional learning. 

  • The Professional Development section also includes a Universal Design for Learning resource in which strategies for students with ADHD are listed, including, but not limited to, “Keep instructions short. Repeat in a different way only as needed,” and “Arrange the class to minimize distractions.”

Indicator 3j

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

Online materials include a School to Home tab for teachers and students.  For teachers, the materials provide a Family Letter each week that reinforces main lesson objectives and demonstrates vocabulary and knowledge content.  These are available in several languages, such as Spanish, Hmong, Arabic, Chinese, Urdu, and others. The letter includes the weekly concept and essential question. Materials provide a checklist for students and families to put a check next to any learning goals they complete. Materials also include a word workout that includes word activities for families and students to do at home and a weekly comprehension passage that has a specific area of focus. The program couples the weekly spelling list with fun activities for families to help practice spelling words. 

The online School to Home tab allows students to share lesson overviews and content, activities to do at home with family, spelling lists, readers, games, and more. Teachers can also use this platform to create and send messages, including things like permission slips, home digitally.  

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, the Family Letter begins with the following introduction:

    • “Dear Family Member: For these next two weeks our class will study the genre of expository text. We will be focusing on how the principles of democracy originated in ancient civilizations, and how many of these principles were applied to our own constitution. Here are some resources that you can use with your child to help reinforce the skills we’ll be practicing.” The letter includes a checklist of the student learning goals for Weeks 1 and 2 and suggestions for parents to work with their child to analyze several Venn diagrams to compare and contrast two different things and try to figure what the things are by reading the clues in the diagrams.

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

The program systematically and regularly provides opportunities for teachers to assess student progress, though materials include limited denotations of the standards being assessed both formatively and summatively. These opportunities are provided via routines and guidance that helps teachers assess students when appropriate.

Adequate guidance is provided to support teachers as they interpret assessment data and determine next steps for instruction.

The materials provide accountability measures to support students as they engage in independent reading of self-selected texts.

Indicator 3k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

The materials provide ongoing opportunities for assessing students’ knowledge and skills both digitally and in print form. The digital teacher resources include links to the Genre Study assessments, as well as screening, diagnostic, and benchmark assessments. Materials also include Running Records that allow teachers to evaluate oral reading and reading levels. Publishers also provide an Assessment Handbook that assists teachers in delivering and scoring assessments and using the data to inform instruction including tracking data for progress monitoring.

For more formative assessment options, students use the Reading/Writing Companion to record quick writes, summaries, answers to questions, and opportunities to collaborate about the standards/skills being taught. The teacher can use this to assess and respond to student progress.

Examples of regular and systematic assessment include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Unit Assessments, students read the passage, “Desert Holiday.” Afterwards, students answer prompts, such as, “Mark one box next to each event to show the correct sequence of events in the text” and “How do Manny’s feelings about the trip change over the course of the text?” These questions reconnect to the formative assessment. 

  • In Unit 2, Week 4, Practice Book, students answer the prompt, “Read each of the following excerpts from the passage, ‘Kush, A Land of Archers.’ Then explain how the tone of the sentence would change if the word in bold were replaced by the word in parentheses.” 

  • In Unit 3, as students work to revise their writing the teacher is instructed to read these three questions to help students evaluate their writing for word choice and mood. 

    • Do my word choices help readers imagine what my characters do, say, feel, and look like?

    • Do I use thoughtfully to convey a distinct mood?

    • Do I use words that keep the mood consistent? 

  • In Unit 4, Unit Assessments students complete an assessment and a performance task. For the assessment, students read three texts including the drama text, The Beech Tree. Students answer questions, such as: “What is the most likely reason the lights should fade out as FATHER steps towards the tree?” and “Read the eight words from the text. Two of the words are homophones of one another. Mark one box to show one pair of homophones.” This connects to the standards taught in Unit 4.

  • On pages 2–5 of the Assessment Handbook, materials provide a table titled Assessment Options that explains how and when to use the assessment components from grades K–6. 

  • In the Benchmark Assessments book, materials include two assessments that simulate a standardized test. Materials provide additional benchmark performance tasks for narrative, explanatory and argumentative tasks. All benchmark assessments include Answer Keys and rubrics. 

  • In Classroom Observations, materials encourage systematic observations including noting topics of interest for reading, cooperative work among students, the types of texts that interest them, and other observable reading behaviors. This allows the teacher to help match students with texts that provide appropriate challenge and engagement. 

  • Students use rubrics to self-assess their writing. Teachers can also find suggestions for differentiating the writing instruction at the beginning of each instructional sequence. Included is a variety of digital tools to support instruction, including graphic organizers, student models, draft, revised, and edited, checklists for editing and peer conferencing, and videos for skills, such as taking notes and evaluating sources.

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

The materials provide multiple ways to assess students throughout each unit, including formative assessments, comprehension assessments within each unit’s Genre Study, and end-of-unit assessments (summative). The Assessment Handbook provides support for formative and informative assessments, screenings, diagnostics, and running records that are all aligned to grade-level content//skills. For example, weekly assessments, writing and research, essential questions and student learning goals are designed around weekly standards and skills embedded in each unit. The User Guide states that Unit Assessments are aligned to standards; these standards are highlighted in the answer keys for each assessment. 

For each assessment In the Assessment folder, the teacher has access to answer keys with CCSS correlations for Benchmark Assessments, Progress Monitoring Assessments, and Unit Assessments. The Answer Key tables include the question number, correct answer, content focus, and the level of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge for each assessment. These keys also denote the standards addressed by each question. Answer keys for the Selection Assessments are also available. These answer keys provide the standards aligned content or skill focus for each question, but the specific standard is not referenced. 

For example, denotation of the standards includes but is not limited to: 

  • In the Grade 6 Benchmark Assessment Answer Key, a table is provided for Test 1. The columns of the table are Question, Answer, Content Focus, CCSS, and Complexity. A question is labeled as follows: 

    • Question: 1A

    • Answer: C

    • Content Focus: Character, Setting, Plot: Sequence

    • CCSS: RL.6.3

    • Complexity: DOK 3

Indicator 3l.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow up.

The materials provide a number of assessments to provide information on student performance. Rubrics and checklists offer teachers insight into student follow-up. The Teacher Edition offers suggestions on key skills for later small group time. The Assessment Handbook offers teachers guidance on drawing conclusions based on the data to interpret student patterns and guide further instruction. The supporting materials for each type of assessment include Answer Keys that support teacher scoring and analysis. Performance task rubrics and anticipated responses are also included. Materials also provide rationales for correct and incorrect responses for some questions to further support teacher analysis.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • The Data Dashboard collects student data on assessments, games, rubrics, and practice work. Guidance in the Teacher Edition instructs teachers to “Use the Data Dashboard to filter class, group, or individual students data to guide group placement decisions.” 

  • The Assessment Handbook provides support for Portfolio Assessments. For example, there is a detailed explanation of the reasons for building a portfolio, which is “a collection of student work organized for a particular purpose.” They include:

    • “Portfolios are used to show development and show best work. 

    • A portfolio that shows development contains examples of the writing process and samples from the beginning, middle, and end of the year. 

    • Portfolios that are filled with the student’s best work are used primarily for showcasing what the student has learned. For example, this kind of portfolio may be on display when parents visit the school for an ‘open school night.’ 

    • Portfolios can be used to connect students’ learning from unit to unit. Students are asked to choose certain pieces of work from the previous unit, and then reflect on them. This reflection can take the form of a note attached to the work or a more formal journal-style entry.” 

  • The Assessment Handbook also provides support for instructional decisions based on assessment. For example, on page 45, instructions include:

    • "Interpret: Look at the data you have collected from various types of assignments or over time. Draw conclusions based on what you are seeing in the data to interpret the patterns you may notice. 

    • Decide: What can you do to meet the student’s learning needs?

    • Check: As you collect ongoing information about student progress, continue to check this information against your interpretation.

    • Modify: Change your instructional decisions if they are not achieving the intended results."

  • The Teacher Edition also includes formative assessment guidance within lessons. For example, in Unit 4, Weeks 3–4, students choral read a passage. The Check for Success prompt is as follows: “Can students read words with Greek and Latin prefixes? Can they read fluently?” Materials provide teachers with guidance on how to differentiate the small group instruction. For example, if the answer is “Yes” then the teacher is provided with both an On-level lesson and an Extend lesson. If the answer is “No” there is a Reteach lesson available as well as an ELL lesson.

Indicator 3m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.

The Teacher Edition provides frequent opportunities during instruction to monitor student progress. For example, materials include regular checkpoints such as the Access Complex Text and Stop and Check sections. In addition, the Assessment Handbook and digital assessment materials offer guidance on how to track and utilize student progress to inform instructional decisions. This includes data charts, conferencing, rubrics, and guidance on student portfolios.

Examples of student progress monitoring include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Genre Study 3, Week 5, Teacher Edition, Access Complex Text, teachers explain to students that the “cause-and-effect text structure shows why currency changed over time. The chronological sequence of events describes each historical phase from long ago to current times.” Teachers ask, “What happened when societies began to make currencies made of metals?” and “What effect did this have on currency?” On page T237B, there is a Stop and Check section that offers teachers a way to monitor student understanding. For example, students use the rereading strategy to confirm the answer to the question “How does supply and demand affect an economy?” 

  • In Unit 3, Weeks 3 and 4, as students read the anchor text, “The Pot that Juan Built” by Nancy Andrews-Gobbel, after reading page 198, the teacher asks the students, “What does the author tell you about Mata Ortiz and its citizens?” The teacher completes a Stop and Check after reading page 206. “Make, Confirm, Revise Predictions: How do you think the success of Juan’s pots will affect the future of Mata Ortiz?” 

  • In the Benchmark Assessments, Test 1 provides teachers with assessment data on the skills taught in Units 1–3, and Test 2 covers skills taught in Units 1–6. Scoring expectations are for students to perform at 80% or higher. Suggested use is that Test 1 be given as a summative mid-year assessment and Test 2 as a summative end-of-the-year assessment. Guidance directs teachers to use Tier 2 Online PDFs for students that do not meet Benchmark expectations. 

  • Running Records/Benchmark Books help the teacher “identify a student’s reading level, style, and strategy use. They help determine a student’s independent, instructional, and frustrational reading levels, as well as comprehension and accuracy, error, and self correction rates.” It utilizes a cueing system that identifies types of errors and can help you recognize “patterns of effective and ineffective strategy use.” The Benchmark Levels of the Running Records align with DRA, Guided Reading, and Reading Recovery levels. Materials prompt teachers to administer the assessment with the following directions: 

    • There are 30 Benchmark Books for levels REBUS through 28, and sixteen Running Records passages for levels 30 through 80. 

    • Read along silently as the student reads the text but do not prompt the student in any way. 

    • Mark each word read accurately and note substitutions, omissions, and self-corrections using the conventions provided on the recording form. 

    • Total the number of miscues and self-corrections; then calculate the student’s error rate by dividing total number of words read by total number of errors made. 

    • Use the Conversion Chart to identify the accuracy rate and to determine a student’s reading level. 

    • Use the Retelling Rubric to determine a general comprehension level.

Indicator 3n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

The materials recommend 30–40 minutes of independent reading daily and offer students a variety of texts, including anchor text, shared text, Time for Kids, suggested classroom library titles, and online titles to access. The Instructional Routines Handbook provides an ample amount of opportunities for students to show accountability for their reading, including reading routines, reading logs, response pages, journaling, and conferences. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Materials offer a variety of texts and places to find texts. They include:

    • Independent Reading selections in the Literature Anthology

    • Differentiated Genre Passages

    • Classroom Library Trade books with online lessons that include activities for students to complete with a partner or in small groups

    • Bonus Leveled Readers

    • Online Leveled Reader Library

    • Online Unit Bibliography to share with students; they can choose books for daily independent reading and then respond in their writer’s notebook.

    • Differentiated Workstation Cards

    • Time for Kids online digital articles 

  • The Instructional Routines Handbook provides a number of options for students to show accountability that include, but are not limited to:

    • The Teacher-Student Conference Routine includes the following teacher directions and talking points:

      • Make a positive observation about the student’s reading or book choice. Regularly conferring with students about their Independent Reading is a great way to informally assess their progress, model social-emotional learning skills, build your classroom culture, and instill habits of learning.

      • Talk about how the reading is going. The teacher may ask: “Why did you choose this particular book or genre? Why did you abandon this book? How is your current book going? Are you using Thinking Codes and are they helping? What strategies are you using and what ones do you need help with? How are you solving problems as you read? Who is your favorite character and why? What is your favorite part so far and why?”

      • Ask the student to read aloud for a minute or two. This will help you assess their accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.

      • Highlight a student strength. The teacher may say: “I really like the way you used context clues to figure out what that word means,” and “Adding that word to your writer’s notebook is a good idea.”

      • Suggest a specific goal the student can work on. The teacher may say: “When you have an opinion, make sure to find text evidence to support it.”

      • Record notes from your conference using provided conference forms.

    • Reading Logs: A log to record students’ daily reading, noting the date, title, pages and/ or time read, and any other information the teacher would like to capture, such as their opinion or their assessment of the text’s difficulty. The publisher provides templates in the Instructional Routines Handbook.

    • Peer Conferences: Opportunities to discuss with another student what they are reading. The publisher provides guidelines for peer discussions. For example, “Share your Independent Reading with your partners. Decide who will share first. When it is your turn to be the speaker, tell your partner the following: Your book title/genre.” Materials provide sentence stems, such as “The book I am reading today is…” and “It is …..(genre/text type).”

    • Journal About Books: Students can take notes in their Writer’s Notebooks as they read. They can write summaries and personal responses, reflect on their strategy use, and make connections to other texts.

    • Thinking Codes: Students mark their own sticky notes to create a trail of their thinking. Students then use this record of their thinking as they write journal entries.

    • Perfect Pitch Challenge: Students present a 1–2 minute pitch about their book. The goal of this information presentation is to hook the class and entice other students to want to read the book.

Criterion 3o - 3r

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

The program provides strategies and support to assure all learners in the classroom are able to access grade-level content. This includes targeted support for English Language Learners, students with disabilities, and students who are performing above grade level. There are also a variety of grouping strategies provided as well as support for the teacher to select and deploy the most effective groupings for various learning scenarios.

Indicator 3o

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

The materials include many strategies for teachers to use. Examples of strategies include teacher think-alouds, modeling, questioning techniques, sentence stems, differentiated leveled passages, and readers organized under the small group instructional routines in the Teacher Edition, including Approaching, On-level, Beyond, and ELL groups. A shared read and anchor text provide access to the grade-level text through additional supports including read-alouds, graphic organizers, student collaboration, Access Complex Text strategies, and Spotlight on Language sections for ELL supports.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher Edition, the Data Dashboard is used to filter class, group, and/or individual student data to guide group placement decisions. It provides recommendations to enhance learning for gifted and talented students and provides extra support for students needing remediation.

  • In Unit 2, Genre Study 2, Weeks 3 and 4, the teacher introduces the Historical Fiction genre by telling students, “they are going to hear a story about a boy from a wealthy Chinese family living in the Eastern Han Empire during the reign of Emperor Mingdi (c. 57–75).” They explain to students that “the story shows how one family in that ancient society prepared for a special day.” The teacher previews historical fiction by explaining to students, “the story you will read aloud is historical fiction.” They discuss features of historical fiction as having “fictional plot that takes place in a real time and place in history,” as possibly referring to “refer to real people from the past,” and includes “details, such as foreign words, that reflect the setting.” After teachers start a historical fiction anchor chart, they “ask students to add characteristics of the genre” and explain that they “may want to add characteristics to the chart as they read more historical fiction texts.” Thereafter, teachers preview Story Structure by pointing out that “understanding text structure makes it easier to comprehend historical fiction texts.” They explain, “literary elements such as characters, setting, and plot are used within historical fiction” and describe how “text structure can help readers identify the theme of a story.” The teacher guides students to read and respond to text by reading the text aloud to them. They direct students to preview the comprehension strategy by making, confirming, revising predictions by “using the Think Alouds on page T121” as they read. As teachers guide students to respond to reading, they use Think Aloud Clouds to display the sentence starter, “Think Aloud Master 3: I predicted ____ because ____” in order to support how they use the “Make Predictions strategy to understand content.” Teachers explore the features of the genre with students by discussing “the elements of the Interactive Read Aloud that let them know it is historical fiction.” 

  • In Unit 4, Weeks 3 and 4, Day 1, Shared Read, Reading/Writing Companion, “She Had to Walk Before She Could Run” (author not cited) , for additional support, teachers use the extra prompts located in the ACT or Access Complex Text section in the Teacher Edition. These additional supports fall into prior knowledge and purpose. For example, “As needed, provide additional information on polio. Polio reaches epidemic levels during the first half of the 1900s.” Students may have difficulty distinguishing the author’s point of view from his or her purpose in providing factual information.” 

  • In Unit 6, Genre Study 1, Week 1, students are learning about Latin roots in the Vocabulary section of the lesson. In the Teacher Edition, the small group instruction sidebar provides the following guidance for additional support:

    • Approaching Level and ELL- Preteach the words before beginning the Shared Read.

    • On Level-l Have students use the online Visual Glossary.

    • Beyond Level- Pairs work to write additional context sentences for the vocabulary.

Indicator 3p

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade-level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

Grade 6 materials provide opportunities for students to access grade-level texts with support in activating prior knowledge through photographs and videos that help supply or initiate recall of background knowledge and collaborative graphic organizers for recording ideas. Materials embed scaffolded supports within instruction and teacher guidance materials. Graphic organizers allow teachers and students to highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas, and relationships (e.g., use outlines to emphasize important ideas or draw students’ attention to critical features). Materials also guide information processing, visualization, and manipulation (e.g., provide explicit prompts for each step in a sequential process). These supports also include routine small group instruction with specific guidance on differentiations within lessons and in small groups.  Materials provide instruction for cross-curricular connections students make as they answer the Essential Question through the Connect to Content features. The Instructional Routines Handbook also includes teacher guidance on supporting students with Dyslexia or other learning needs and English Language Learners.

Materials embed scaffolded supports for ELL students. Teacher materials also include a Newcomer Teacher’s Guide, and the Teacher Edition contains purple text boxes such as Spotlight on Language or Newcomers which are directly designed for guidance on teaching ELL students.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • The lessons in the Teacher Edition include orange sidebars in the margins which recommend differentiated or small group instructional approaches including students who are below or approaching grade level. The majority of lessons include these recommendations which range from reteaching material to providing additional scaffolds for students. For example, in Unit 1, Genre Study 2, students are reading “Cow Music” (unknown author).  The Check for Success section in the orange sidebar prompts teachers: “ Use your online rubric to record student progress. Are students able to compare and contrast Celia’s feelings about city and country life?” If students are not, materials recommend that teachers do a reteach for approaching students using modeling and the “I Do, We Do, You Do” strategy in a small group lesson on how to compare and contrast elements in a story. 

  • In the Newcomer Teacher's Guide (Grades 3–6), materials include leveled reader resources that the teacher can use as a resource for ELL students. Its components are specifically created to help students “build their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in English.” These components help newcomers acquire and “develop oral language by creating frequent opportunities for students to engage in conversations with their classmates.” The Newcomer Teacher's Guide describes teaching strategies for newcomers, specifically building oral language. The guide explains, “To progress academically, newcomers must have access to basic, high-utility vocabulary from which they can build English language skills. Much of this vocabulary will become a part of their everyday speech when they are given opportunities to converse with their classmates.”

  • In Unit 2, Week 5, Genre Study 3, English Language Learners Scaffold, teachers use the following scaffolds to help students to identify personification in poetry:

    • For students at the Beginning level: “Review with students how to identify personification in poetry. Read the second stanza on page 159. Explain to students that tutor means teacher. Remind them to look for descriptions of nonhuman things that could be applied to a human. Then have partners reread the first two lines and discuss how the poet describes a book like a person using: The book is like a teacher. The book teaches people everywhere.”

    • For students at the Intermediate level: “Discuss with students how to identify personification in poetry. Have students read the second stanza on page 159. Ask: Which line personifies books? “Those books were tutors glad to share. Then have partners discuss how the figurative language helps them understand the poet’s idea using: The line personifies books as teachers that feel glad to share their words.”

    • For students at the Advanced/Advanced High level: “Have students discuss how personification can help readers relate to ideas in a poem. Then have them read the second stanza on page 159 and find an example of personification. Have partners discuss how the figurative language helps them understand the poet’s idea using the term personification.”

  • In Unit 3, Genre Study 3, students are analyzing an expert model of a persuasive article to write their own. During the topic selection phase for the writing, materials provide teacher recommendations for differentiated writing. For students who are approaching grade level, teachers are instructed to “give students a topic that they already have some knowledge about or provide links to appropriate online sites they can use for research.”

  • In Unit 5, Genre Study 1, students read the text, Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491 by Charles Mann. In the Respond to Reading section, the Teacher Edition provides scaffolds for varying ELL proficiency levels as follows; 

    • Beginning—Read the prompt with students and clarify the meaning of benefited. Review students’ charts on pages 14–16 and discuss the text features the author uses. Remind students that the text is organized in time order. Then help partners respond using: The author organizes the text in time order. This helps me understand how people benefited from the development of maize. The author uses text features, such as photographs and maps.

    • Intermediate—Review the prompt with students. Have partners review their charts on pages 14–16. Remind students that the text is organized in time order. Then help them write using: The author organizes the text in time order to help me understand how people benefited from the development of maize. The text features, such as photographs, sidebars, and maps support the information in the text.

    • Advanced/Advanced High—Have partners read the prompt and review their charts on pages 14–16 to describe text features the author uses. Then have them discuss how the author organizes the text and respond using the sentence starters on page 17 to write their responses.

Indicator 3q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.

Grade 6 materials provide opportunities for students to interact with text in extension activities including, leveled small groups (advanced), Talented and Gifted recommended lessons, author studies, book talks/chats, research/writing, and independent book titles for student choice reads. In the Teacher Edition, extended or advanced tasks are labeled in green with the word Beyond in reference to students who are categorized as advanced in small group instruction.

Examples and teacher directions for above grade level students include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 6, Genre Study 2, in the small group instruction guidance of the Teacher Edition, the Beyond section includes vocabulary and comprehension work. The vocabulary section looks at Greek roots. This section highlights an extended tasks for Gifted and Talented students: 

    • Model: Read aloud the second paragraph of the Beyond Level online Differentiated Genre Passage, “Ancient Threads Reveal Early Weavers,”page B1.

      • Think Aloud—I know that archeologists study ancient cultures, but I’m not sure what paleontology is. I know that the Greek root paleo means “prehistoric.” That knowledge and this paragraph’s context help me figure out that paleontology has to do with the study of prehistoric life forms.

      • With students, discuss how the Greek root logos (“reason”) helps them figure out the meaning of logic in the same paragraph.

    • Apply: Have pairs of students read the rest of the passage. Have them use Greek roots to determine the meanings of the words technique and telescope on page B2.

    • Gifted and Talented: Analyze Have partners discuss what they’ve learned by considering this week’s Essential Question. Then have them use the words intriguing and methodical to write and share a response to the question as it relates to the Differentiated Genre Passage.

  • In the Instructional Routines Handbook, Author Study, students form an independent study group and choose an author to study. “Have students choose two pieces of work by the author and read the selections independently. Students should have collaborative conversations about their reading each week in which they can choose a character and compare their traits; compare and contrast themes; compare the author’s purpose; compare text structures; compare poetic devices or the use of figurative language and the effect it has on the mood of a text. Remind students to use text evidence to support their ideas.”

  • In the Instructional Routines Handbook, Support for Advanced Learners, students engage in a variety of independent reading study pages/routines. “Ask students to create a two–three minute movie trailer for their books that provides enough plot details to captivate the viewer without spoiling the end. Students can use video editing software applications to create their trailers." Book Club Chat: "Have students choose an exciting, interesting, or descriptive passage to read aloud to the group. The passage should reveal something interesting about a situation in the text and/or provide some insight into a main character." Concept Study: "Have students do a research report on a topic related to their independent reading. Students may choose to study one of the following topics: a specific time-period from a text, a specific concept or idea from a text, a specific person in history, the pros and cons of a controversial subject. Have students decide on how to present their ideas at the end of the study. If they need support, make the following suggestions: write a research report including an organizational structure that supports the research, create a historical timeline of a subject or person, write a biographical sketch of a person, write a persuasive article for a newspaper, create a PowerPoint presentation for any of the above.”

Indicator 3r

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

Throughout the materials, there is evidence of support and notations of which grouping strategies should be used and when to implement them in the lesson planning. Lessons indicate where pairs, collaborative conferences, small group or individual groupings are utilized for instruction. The Instructional Routines Handbook, Data Dashboard, and Assessment Handbook provide teachers with suggestions for grouping students. Teachers also group students by student interest and teacher observation.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher Edition, differentiated instruction using small group lessons on vocabulary and comprehension is available at four different levels: Approaching, English Language Learners, On Level, and Beyond Level. Phonics/Decoding and fluency lessons are also provided for the Approaching Level. In the Teacher Edition, each Genre Study is also accompanied by topic-related Leveled Readers and genre passages for small group instruction at the four levels, as well as instructional support for each of them. As they teach small groups, teachers can search the Leveled Reader Library at my.mheducation.com for more leveled titles to use. The library is searchable by Keyword, Theme, Genre, Skill, Text Feature, Grade Range, as well as Guided Reading, Lexile, and DRA Levels. 

  • The Assessment Handbook and the Data Dashboard at my.mheducation.com provide more information on assessments that teachers can use to form small groups. The Running Records/Benchmark Books resource provides leveled passages and recording forms for determining students’ independent, instructional, and frustrational reading levels, as well as comprehension and accuracy, error, and self-correction rates. The leveled passages used in the Running Records/Benchmark Books resource also utilizes a cueing system that identifies types of errors and can help teachers to determine patterns of effective and ineffective strategy use. Teachers use the Data Dashboard to filter class, group, and/or individual student data to guide group placement decisions. It provides recommendations to enhance learning for gifted and talented students and provides extra support for students needing remediation.

  • In the Instructional Routines Handbook, materials include teacher guidance on Peer Conferences: “Provide your students with consistent opportunities to discuss with another student what they are reading. This allows them to exchange ideas about what they are learning and how they are growing as readers. In addition, it offers a valuable chance for you to listen in to students sharing their thinking about their reading with others. Pair two (or three) students. You might want to group students who are reading the same text or texts on the same topic or theme. Rehearse with students what these collaborative conversations should look like and sound like. By using a gradual release of responsibility, you can ensure that students will be focused when they are meeting with a peer to discuss their reading. Provide students with specific guidelines to ensure that students will use the time productively. Use the Peer Conferencing handouts on pages 126–128 to model with students.”

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Digital materials are available for the program and are accessible on multiple platforms and browsers. Technology is used appropriately to support student learning and foregrounds supports that provide a deeper understanding of the texts and text evidence they encounter in lessons. Opportunities for personalization/customization and teacher-to-student and student-to-student collaboration are available digitally, including customization for local use.

Indicator 3s

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple internet browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (ie., Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • The materials are accessible online and can be printed for student use. The digital teaching resources are available wherever there is an Internet connection. There is 24/7 access to instructional modules, model classroom videos, author videos, and Digital Help tutorials in the Professional Development section. The program is compatible with multiple Internet browsers, such as Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Google Chrome and is accessible on tablets and mobile devices.

Indicator 3t

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate. 

Grade 6 materials provide interactive games, digital presentations with video and audio, online collaboration tools, and writing tools to enhance student learning. Each unit’s text selections are available to students in their online dashboard. The daily teacher presentation that is customizable and projectable asks students to interact with text and find evidence when appropriate. 

Examples include but are not limited to: 

  • Students can digitally access all resources and activities assigned to them by the teacher. For example, when a student selects “Vocabulary” they will see a photo or video example of the word along with a sample sentence. Students can hear the sentence, words, and passages read aloud to them.Teachers can also upload and add their own digital resources to the lessons.

  • Students have the ability to annotate using digital tools such as a digital pen and highlighter. All the students work for the text, such as graphic organizers and text dependent questions, can be digitally accessed by clicking on the question or organizer as they read. 

  • Inquiry Space provides students an opportunity to navigate through the process of completing an informative performance task that results in a research paper and offline presentation. Digital Toolkits in the form of animations, videos, and slide presentations are provided for each phase of the research project. 

  • StudySync Blast allows students to respond to text-dependent questions and each other’s posts in 140 characters or less.

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

Grade 6 materials include technological innovations that allow teachers to customize weekly lessons for whole group instruction and for individual students. Teachers set the school calendar in the online platform which determines what students access in their online dashboards each day. Teachers can customize beyond that for individual students by assigning specific practice pages and texts at specific reading levels to individual students to access online. In the User’s Guide on page 78, publishers address lesson personalization: “Follow the suggested Lesson Plan in Wonders, or go online to customize your own via an easy-to use, drag-and-drop planner. Once you make updates to your planner, the changes automatically adjust your weekly and daily resources. The core and optional pathways provide options for expanding or condensing your literacy block, based on your time and needs.”

Additional examples include, but are not limited to:

  • The Wonders system is set up to automatically load the correct resources for the week in each student’s account. When students select the green TO DO button, they can see and access resources and practice activities the teacher has assigned to them. For example, when students select the blue READ button, they see their reading selections for the week of instruction. In addition to the Shared Read and Anchor texts, each student will see the correct Leveled Reader texts for their tested reading level. Students can log in from school or home to access their learning resources. Parents have access to the Student Workspace, including the School-to-Home letters, when the student logs in from home.

  • Teachers have the opportunity to adjust any resource in the Daily Lessons tab by clicking on the gear button. For example teachers can use the gear to open, share, remove, and launch that part of the lesson.  

  • Teachers have the opportunity to personalize learning for all students. There are guides on how to organize the instructional materials in the Teach It Your Way section in the Professional Development section.

  • Teachers have the ability to assign whole class or individual students tasks including, but not limited to, allowing audible access for students. Teachers can also assign lessons in Google Classroom. 

  • The Professional Development materials also have guides on how to design the class including, but not limited to Equitable Access for Instruction, Universal Design for Learning, and Guiding Principles for Supporting English Learners.

Indicator 3u.ii

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials can be easily customized for local use.

Grade 6 materials provide “Teach it Your Way” to customize the resources. The resources can be used if the focus of the district’s instructional plan is to include other research-based practices not explicitly provided in the Wonders materials. Teachers and/or the school district can also determine that lessons will follow a Core Pathway option due to time constraints or other needs. Teachers and/or school districts can determine the order of lessons, the number of days used to teach each Genre Study, and the practice materials are available to students online.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • The Wonders “Teach it Your Way” format is referenced in the digital support videos and in the teacher resources entitled Teach It Your Way Daily 5, Teach It Your Way Blending Learning Station Routine, and Teach It Your Way Workshop Reading/Workshop Writing. These resources provide tips and templates to customize the Wonders program to fit these instructional frameworks.

  • Teachers have the ability to customize their lesson plans by moving and removing lessons or adding their own resources. This is done from the Weekly Planner view of the Resource Library.

  • Teachers can also adjust their plans with the Core Pathway feature. The Core Pathway is an abbreviated version of the curriculum that covers all tested skills but omits some optional lessons. These assist teachers who are having trouble completing the full curriculum within their literacy block. Teachers can automatically activate the Core Pathway by going to the Planner Options button in the middle of the screen. After activating the Core Pathway, a gear icon in the lesson title can restore individual lessons by selecting Reactivate Lesson. The printed Teacher Edition shows clearly which parts of the lesson plan are “core” and which are “optional." For example, 

    • In Unit 2, Genre Study 2, Weeks 3 and 4, Day 2: 

Core:

  • Strategy—Make Predictions, T128–T129

  • Literary Elements—Setting, T130–T131

  • Skill—Theme, T132–T133

  • Shared Read—Reread: Craft and Structure, T134–T135

  • Respond to Reading – T136–T137

  • Study Skill/Research and Inquiry—T140–T141

  • Grammar—More Plural Nouns, T156

  • Writing—Expert Model: Revise Edit and Proofread Publish, T111–T247

 Optional:

  • Word Study—Inflectional Endings, T138–T139

  • Fluency—Expression and Phrasing, T139

  • Grammar—Talk About It, T156

  • Spelling—Inflectional Endings, T160

  • Expand Vocabulary—T164 

  • The digital lesson planner allows teachers to customize lesson plans. For example, teachers can drag and drop lessons on the planner to move them forward to another day or use the gear icon to move lessons to the Holding Bin and decide later when to use them. Teachers can also add their own digital resources as well as add their own notes to lessons. In the center of the Weekly Planner, teachers can select the “Customize” drop-down menu and then select “Edit Resources” or “Add Notes.”

Indicator 3v

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 6 meet the criteria that materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g., websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.)

Teachers can create Talk About It discussions for student collaboration in the student digital materials. Students can access this by clicking on the Collaborate tab at the top of the digital student materials. 

Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • In the teacher online materials under the Writing and Research heading, teachers can create a Talk About It discussion for students to collaborate online. The directions provided to the teacher online are as follows: “Inspire your students to discuss what they are learning. Post questions or prompts related to weekly lessons for student response. Students can also reply to each other's posts. Create a new topic to begin.”

  • The Online Writer’s Notebook provides opportunities for students to access student models, instructional videos, and more to support their writing from planning to drafting. Teachers can access anchor papers and can review and give feedback to students at any time.

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Report Published Date: 2019/11/21

Report Edition: 2020

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

ELA 3-8 Review Tool

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

For ELA, our review criteria evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Math K-8

  • Focus and Coherence - 14 possible points

    • 12-14 points: Meets Expectations

    • 8-11 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 8 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 18 possible points

    • 16-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 11-15 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 11 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 38 possible points

    • 31-38 points: Meets Expectations

    • 23-30 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 23: Does Not Meet Expectations

Math High School

  • Focus and Coherence - 18 possible points

    • 14-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 16 possible points

    • 14-16 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 36 possible points

    • 30-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 22-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 22: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA K-2

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 58 possible points

    • 52-58 points: Meets Expectations

    • 28-51 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 28 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

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

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 3-5

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 42 possible points

    • 37-42 points: Meets Expectations

    • 21-36 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 21 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

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

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 6-8

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 36 possible points

    • 32-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 18-31 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 18 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

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

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


ELA High School

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meets Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

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

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

Science Middle School

  • Designed for NGSS - 26 possible points

    • 22-26 points: Meets Expectations

    • 13-21 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 13 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Coherence and Scope - 56 possible points

    • 48-56 points: Meets Expectations

    • 30-47 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 30 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 54 possible points

    • 46-54 points: Meets Expectations

    • 29-45 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 29 points: Does Not Meet Expectations