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The quality review is the result of extensive evidence gathering and analysis by Texas educators of how well instructional materials satisfy the criteria for quality in the subject-specific rubric. Follow the links below to view the scores and read the evidence used to determine quality.
Section 1. English Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
TEKS Student %
TEKS Teacher %
ELPS Student %
ELPS Teacher %
Section 2. Texts
Section 3. Literacy Practices and Text Interactions
Section 4. Developing and Sustaining Foundational Literacy Skills
Section 5. Supports for All Learners
Section 6. Implementation
Section 7. Additional Support
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
The materials include high-quality texts and cover a range of student interests. The cross-content texts are well-crafted and are of publishable quality, representing the quality of content, language, and writing that is produced by experts in various disciplines. Materials include increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide paired books to compare and contrast texts. Within each curriculum unit, texts represent a wide array of topics and cultures. Furthermore, the texts span varied content areas, such as art, music, math, science, and social studies, and are offered in several different languages (Spanish, French, British, Polish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese). Additionally, the materials contain over 400 texts and are available in both printable and electronic formats at 29 levels of text complexity, from level AA to Z.
For example, there are 19 titles within the Classics section, including The Call of the Wild by Jack London, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, and The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. Each classic is broken down into smaller-sized text for instructional purposes, and the pieces together represent the entire novel. Additionally, the Legends section contains traditional texts, such as an adaptation of Beowulf provided in three Lexile levels, 660L, 870L, and 890L. There are more than 14 titles of traditional fairy tales, from the well-known such as Hansel and Gretel, Pinocchio, and Rapunzel, to the lesser-known, such as Polar Bear’s Promise and The Wild Swans. All titles are labeled with Lexile levels. Furthermore, the materials contain texts that represent diversity, including folktales from around the world such as Ali Baba: An Arabian Folktale, The Drum, An Indian Folktale, and The Stone Cutter: A Japanese Folktale. All folktales are labeled with a Lexile level and a guided reading level, and most are available in multi-levels. Other examples of diverse texts are listed in the Biography section and include historical and modern-day figures such as Albert Einstein, Anne Frank, Barack Obama, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Cathay Freeman, Gandhi, Sonia Sontemeyer, and others.
For example, Unit 1 contains a non-fiction text titled The Gettysburg Address that includes real photographs and illustrations depicting the significant events during the Civil War era, as well as the impact Abraham Lincoln had and continues to have on the United States of America. The text contains a glossary to help support the vocabulary within the piece.
A text in Unit 4 titled Meet the Artist highlights how animals are artists too. This story features an elephant and a chimpanzee and describes their fame within the art world. Another Unit 4 text titled Damarcus: Digital Music Artist portrays how modern technology helps people express themselves through art.
In Unit 6, a shared reading text is a non-fiction text titled The Amazing Undersea Food Web by Penny Atcheson and Elizabeth Fox. It contains rich content vocabulary, such as accumulation, anemone, bioluminescence, faults, trenches, and zooplankton. The text describes how animals from the four ocean zones are connected by the undersea food web. The text is narrated by Phytoplankton, who takes readers through the zones within oceans, explaining the food webs and the interactions between the zones.
In Unit 7, a read-aloud text is a non-fiction text titled Julius Caesar by Evan Russell. It contains rich content vocabulary, such as aristocracy, intrigues, judicious, martyr, tactician, and orator. The text describes the world during Julius Caesar’s time, his early life, Caesar in Gaul, the first triumvirate, his return to Rome, and the legacy that Caesar left behind. The author included a timeline of Julius Caesar’s life and a “Do You Know?”’ that describes Caesar’s writings about his experiences.
Unit 8 contains a text titled The Story of Plastic that outlines how plastic is made, its usefulness, problems associated with plastic, and its future. The book contains vivid photographs, charts, captions, and text boxes to help the reader comprehend the purpose of plastic and help establish the relevance of text information. This text also contains a glossary, a table of contents, and vocabulary such as disposable, petrochemicals, and synthetic.
Unit 8 contains a text titled Ocean Poems, a compilation of poems with illustrations and photographs depicting various facts about ocean life and the significance of oceans. Factual information and photographs portraying icebergs, whales, coral reefs, sand, and pollution help bring oceans to life for students. The poems are concise, drawing the reader to focus on the main points of the ocean components.
Additionally, fiction books increase engagement and provide relevance to characters, setting, or plot structure. For example, the Unit 2 text Ella’s Wish is a fictional version of the Cinderella story. The author uses enticing words and phrases, such as “so was her stepsisters’ transparent glee at her misery” and “silvery birds enthusiastically cooing and bobbing their heads in anticipation.” Vocabulary such as soot, miserable, tedious, and furious further portray the tone and mood of the story.
In Unit 5, Leo the Lion helps readers understand the feelings associated with divorce and moving forward by recounting events from the point of view of a young boy who meets his potential future step-brother for the first time. The author uses rich vocabulary, such as resigned, quaint, begrudgingly, and exacerbated, in describing the boy's encounter of fishing in the dark.
The materials include print and graphic features and represent a variety of text types and genres across content that meet the requirements of the TEKS for the grade level.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include 14 genres of texts as required by the TEKS in assorted formats and genres, including realistic fiction, fiction, non-fiction, classics, adventure, folktales, mysteries, biographies, fables, and legends. However, there is no evidence of a play/drama in any Grade 5 Unit, which is a requirement of the TEKS.
Examples of literary texts include but are not limited to:
Examples of informational texts include but are not limited to:
The materials provide a Text Features section within the Grade 5 Implementation Guide. “Text features must be explicitly taught so students can recognize them and identify their purpose in a text.” This guide is for teachers to implement this explicit instruction and includes the following text features: table of contents, heading, subheadings, special print (boldface and italics), photographs, illustrations, graphics, sidebars, captions, charts, tables, graphs, maps, diagrams, timelines, cutaways, glossary, index, and digital texts. This resource defines the text features for teachers, gives instructional suggestions, and contains discussion questions to use during instruction. This aligns with the Grade 5 TEKS that indicates students should recognize the characteristics and structures of text features such as insets, timelines, and sidebars to support their understanding.
Examples of print and graphic features include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, Anne Frank by Sean McCollum includes photographs of Anne Frank; women prisoners at Auschwitz; a replica of Anne’s diary; the bookcase that hid the secret passageway to the South Annex and Peter van Pels; as well as a table of contents, text boxes, captions, a glossary, an index, and bold text.
In Unit 3, Biomimicry by Rus Buyok showcases photographs of biomimicry in various forms such as cooling systems, building materials, and even swimsuit production. This text also contains a table of contents, captions, subheadings, diagrams/models, side-by-side photographs depicting how biomimicry was utilized, a glossary, and bold text.
Unit 7, The Great Wall of China by Kira Freed features vivid photographs of Chinese architecture and culture.
The materials include a text-complexity analysis provided by the publisher to accompany the leveled readers and challenging texts at an appropriate level of complexity that allows sufficient exposure to quantitative levels and qualitative features to support grade 5 students.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Raz-Plus materials provide printable, projectable, and electronic books at 29 levels of text complexity. They include a Correlation Chart so that users may compare Learning A-Z levels and materials to other popular systems such as DRA, Ages, Fountas & Pinnell, Lexile, Reading Recovery, ATOS, and PM Readers. Additionally, the texts are leveled according to a Text Leveling System “developed over a ten year period as thousands of books, ranging in difficulty from simple sentences to complex novels and academic texts, were evaluated by teachers and instructional experts and placed into a system to create developmentally appropriate levels for students.” The leveling system from the publisher follows the guidelines for determining text complexity, which includes qualitative measures, quantitative measures, and reader task considerations and is available in English and Spanish. Quantitative measures are statistical measurements of text such as total word count, number of different words, ratio of different words to total words, number of high-frequency words, ratio of high-frequency words to total words, number of low-frequency words, ratio of low-frequency words to total words, sentence length, and sentence complexity. Qualitative measures are text attributes that are subjectively evaluated by a human reader. Qualitative factors within the materials encompass predictability of text, text structure and organization (logical nature of organization, text and feature distractions and labeling and reader supports), illustration support, infographics (complexity and text reliance), and knowledge demands (concept load, familiarity of topic, single vs. multi-themed and intertextual dependence).
The “Lexile Text Measures to Guide College and Career Readiness” states that books for grade 5 should be between 830L to 1010L; the materials provide books for grade 5 that are between 890L to 1120L, which correlates to guided reading S-Z and DRA 40-70.
Unit 1 has D-Day by Michael T. Foley (informational nonfiction level Z1 text containing 1,848 words). The purpose/structure of this text is significantly complex as the author tells the historical story from a third-person point of view and organizes the text with a table of contents and subheadings. A glossary is available to readers to define words written in bold print. Illustrations, photos, and maps support the text, allowing the reader to visually interpret the content, thus supporting comprehension. The language is moderately complex in that the vocabulary is reflective of the time period.
Unit 4 has The Legacy of da Vinci by Julie Parks (level Y biography containing 1,080 words). This informational text tells the story of the life and legacy of Leonardo da Vinci. The purpose and structure of this text are moderately complex, as the author tells the story from a third-person point of view and organizes the text with a table of contents and subheadings. A glossary defines words written in bold print. Photographs support the text, allowing the reader to visually interpret the content, thus supporting comprehension. The language is slightly complex with academic language throughout the book.
Unit 8 has Seven Billion and Counting by Cynthia Kennedy Henzel (Level Z2 informational nonfiction text containing 2,081 words). The story is organized with a table of contents and subheadings, and a glossary defines words written in bold print. Graphs, photos, and captions support the text, allowing the reader to visually interpret the content, thus supporting comprehension. Additionally, the language is significantly complex.
The materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, themes, and connections within and across texts. Furthermore, the materials contain questions and tasks that build conceptual knowledge, are text-specific/dependent, target complex elements of the texts, and integrate multiple TEKS. Students make connections to personal experiences, other texts, and the world around them. Additionally, they identify and discuss important big ideas, themes, and details.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In a paired book lesson, students read The Story of Immigration by Robert Charles and The Great Hunger by Cynthia Kennedy Henzel. There are question sets for each text, along with cross-text activities and a response to reading activity. Cross-text activities guide students to consider how the experiences of the Irish immigrants differ from Africans who immigrated involuntarily to be used as slaves. Additionally, the response to reading directs students to cite specific evidence from the books in response to the key question “What is the relationship between the resources available in countries and shifting populations?” Students may also use a graphic organizer to write key points and interesting vocabulary about each book and note points for cross-text discussion within a box labeled for that purpose.
In a close read passage, Flying Cars, students read the text three times, each for a different purpose. The first read focuses on “What does the text say?” and students answer questions such as “What is an autonomous passenger drone?” The second read focuses on “How does the text say what it says?” and students answer content/academic vocabulary questions such as “What words in the first paragraph help the reader understand the meaning of the word autonomously?” The third read focuses on the meaning and value of the text, and students answer questions such as “What is the meaning and value of the text?” and “Stop signs and traffic lights are used to regulate vehicles on the ground. What might be used to regulate cars in the sky as flying cars become more popular? Do you think one type of flying car is better than another? Explain your thinking.”
In Unit 1, Week 3, the lesson objective entails multiple TEKS as it asks students to identify and describe patterns in a descriptive text with a focus on problem and solution. Students examine multiple texts, including The Gettysburg Address by Jennifer McStotts, Letters Home provided by the publisher, Food for the Troops (article by the publisher), and Lee’s Difficult Decision (letter by the publisher), to determine and explain the textual organization in justifying examples of problem and solution, noting text patterns. Students connect to the overarching theme of “important events that helped shape the United States” through these texts as they gain personal perspectives through Lincoln’s biography and letters to and from soldiers and individuals during wartime by identifying problems and solutions. Students read about the problems Abraham Lincoln faced and the solutions used in resolving the problems. The lesson suggests questions such as the following: “What is the problem or challenge in the story?” “How is the problem solved?” “What is the solution?” and “Is there more than one problem and solution in the story?” Students identify the problem, possible solutions, actual solution, and supporting evidence in a new text and then record their findings on a graphic organizer. Additionally, questions such as “How does the problem affect the characters?” help the reader identify text evidence about problems and solutions in making connections across texts as well as internally (to self). Teachers guide students to connect to a previously read text to discuss the problem in the story and how it was solved, indicating there can be multiple problems that characters face in order to solve the main problem in the story.
In Unit 2, a lesson focuses on the theme and provides the following discussion questions: “What is the theme of this text? How is it different from the main idea? How can you apply this to your own life?” The following dialogue frames provide students support when answering text-dependent questions: According to the text...; The text tells me...; In paragraph... it says....”
The materials provide unit and weekly questions that are text-specific, target complex elements of the texts, and integrate multiple TEKS. The unit question for Unit 3 is “How do we use what we know about objects to develop scientific innovations and inventions?” The weekly questions within the unit are: “How have scientists and their discoveries led to innovations throughout history?” “What are some of the benefits of scientific innovations?” “How have scientific innovations helped us learn about Earth and beyond?” and “How do people continue to push the limits with new scientific inventions?”
In Unit 4, Week 2, the lesson objective entails multiple TEKS. Students use evidence from a text to summarize and identify the main idea and details. Students examine Make an Impression by Jill Sherman. Students connect to a previously read nonfiction text and discuss its main idea, fostering text-to-text connections in main idea and details. Students make thematic connections by reading other texts, such as the biography The Legacy of da Vinci by Julie Parks, in determining how and why the arts have changed over time. Students can then apply this knowledge to their world around them.
In Unit 7, a shared reading lesson on main idea and details includes the following discussion questions: “What is this text mostly about? What details support the main idea? What details are important to understand the main idea?” The materials guide teachers to ask students to identify key details in a text and the main idea. Students summarize the text by using the main ideas of several text sections. Teachers access graphic organizers to support each key area of the plan in the Resources tab.
Unit 7 contains multiple texts about various people and places around the world, including the United Nations, Panama Canal, Queen Elizabeth I, and Julius Caesar, so students can make connections across texts as well as apply them to their own world. Week 4 uses the nonfiction text The Great Wall of China by Kira Freed. Students make cross-curricular connections by writing an essay about which section of The Great Wall of China the reader would visit. The materials suggest students research a Chinese dynasty and write a report including dates, emperors, battles, and feats as part of a social studies activity.
The materials require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts by making inferences, drawing conclusions about the author's purpose in cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts, and providing evidence from the text to support their understanding. Additionally, the materials provide students the opportunity to study the language within texts to support their understanding, to compare and contrast the stated or implied purposes of different authors’ writing on the same topic, and to analyze the choices authors make to influence and communicate meaning (in single and across a variety of texts). However, the materials lack evidence of different authors’ writing on the same topic.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials address all grade 5, Strand 5 TEKS within the curriculum throughout the year, except 10G, which addresses stereotyping and anecdotes. The materials consistently provide questions and tasks to support students’ analysis of the literary/textual elements of texts, such as language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Also, each unit lists focus skills and concepts that include the author's purpose.
The materials contain “Comprehension Skills Packs” at each grade level. Teachers have access to grade-level texts with a complete lesson plan that is categorized to support specific literary/textual elements as follows: analyze character, analyze plot, analyze setting, author’s point of view, author’s purpose, cause, and effect, compare and contrast, fact and opinion, main idea and details, inferencing, drawing conclusions, narrative point of view, problem and solution, and sequencing events. These texts encompass varied genres and content. Students have opportunities to examine texts by various authors on the same topic as well as texts about different topics by the same authors; students determine how an author’s voice or point of view influences the meaning.
Additionally, the “Literacy Curriculum Map Implementation Guide” for each grade level provides teachers guidance on the author's craft lessons, including point of view and purpose. Specifically, the materials provide an author’s purpose lesson format that is not book-specific and can be adapted. It includes discussion questions and implementation guidelines for teachers to utilize with any lesson throughout the curriculum. The discussion questions include the following: “Why did the author write this text? How did the author present the information? What did you notice about the words the author used? What does the author want you to know about the topic (nonfiction)? What does the author want you to know about the story or characters (fiction)? Is this text going to teach me something, make me laugh or cry, or try to get me to do or believe something?”
In Pair Book Lesson Plan, students answer questions about two texts to compare and contrast the author's stated or implied purpose in nonfiction texts or fiction texts. In the readers, “Zoos Through the Ages” and “Zoos: Pro or Con?”, students answer, “What reasons do supporters cite as evidence for why zoos should exist? What reasons do opponents cite as evidence for why zoos should not exist?” Students complete a worksheet about key points from each text and write notes about the “Cross-Text Discussion.”
The materials also provide an author’s voice lesson format with discussion questions and implementation guidelines. The discussion questions listed are as follows: “What does the author mean when they say...? What is the author describing? What is the author comparing...to? Why do you think the author chose to use these words? What effect does figurative language have in a text?” Under the implementation bullets, it guides teachers to point out examples of technical writing that include academic vocabulary and domain-specific words, explain to students that a technical voice can be descriptive, and point out figurative language within the text.
In the Grade 5 Close Reading Pack, Poetry, teachers present the key question “How does a poet create images that support the theme of a poem?” Additionally, students respond to questions such as “How does a poet’s language help readers make a mental image?” and “How does a mental image help understand the theme of a poem?”
In Unit 2, the focus question is “How do authors develop characters who change and interact throughout a story?” Within this instructional unit, students identify the author’s message, the theme, and the change the author went through by the end of the story. Teachers may use dialogue frames to support student responses to text-dependent questions such as “According to the text...; The text tells me...; and In paragraph...it says....” In Unit 2, Week 1, students examine how an author conveys similarities and differences between characters, settings, and events through the point of view, purpose, and voice. Students use evidence from folktales such as How Raven Brought Light to the World, Why the Hare Runs Fast, and Coyote and the Salmon, all written by the publishers, to compare and contrast characters, settings, and plot elements within a text and across texts. Students identify words and phrases the author uses to describe the story elements. Students identify text evidence that highlights the author's portrayal of the character, setting, and events and writes evidence from the text on graphic organizers.
In Unit 4, Week 4, the lesson objective incorporates poetry elements using the poem “Songs for the People” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, asking students to explain the use of sound devices and figurative language and describe the author’s use of imagery, literal and figurative language. Teachers use questions such as “Does the poem rhyme?” “What type of poem is it?” “What are common characteristics of poetry?” “What elements of poetry does the poem include?” “What is the meaning of this poem?” “How does poetry compare to other text types?” and “Why did the author choose to write this text as a poem?” to support student discourse. Additionally, students read the poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes, analyze the author’s message, and write a letter to the author (Langston Hughes) describing the effect his pieces have on them based upon the “voice” within the text.
In Unit 7, teachers use discussion questions for a non-fiction text about immigration to understand the author's purpose. For example, questions include, “Is the author trying to explain what happened and why it happened? What text structure did the author use?” Then the teacher leads a class discussion regarding how students might learn what the author considers to be important events and the reasons they occurred. Teachers may use dialogue frames to support student responses to text-dependent dialogue stems to support student responses.
The materials provide continuity in lesson design and implementation of vocabulary within shared reading, writing, and literacy stations within literacy lessons in each unit, as well as other vocabulary supports for teachers and students. Furthermore, they include scaffolds and support for teachers to utilize to differentiate vocabulary for all learners. However, the materials do not contain a cohesive, year-long vocabulary plan that clearly demonstrates how the academic vocabulary builds in and across texts. Yet, for an additional charge, districts may purchase a vocabulary component that includes a year-long plan.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Although there is no evidence of a systematic, year-long plan for building vocabulary, the materials include consistent lessons containing ways to support student vocabulary acquisition throughout all units, including ways to apply words in appropriate contexts. The vocabulary-rich texts at each developmental level immerse students in language acquisition. Furthermore, the Scope and Sequence for each unit has a vocabulary section that contains academic vocabulary, content vocabulary, and context clue vocabulary application as part of the “Shared Reading,” “Writing,” and “Literacy Station” lesson portions. The vocabulary lesson design can be adapted to the current text of study.
Also, the materials provide a grade-level implementation guide that recommends teachers guide students with questions such as “Do you recognize any part of the word?” and “Are there clues in the words, phrases, or graphic features surrounding the word?” The guide also defines academic vocabulary, content vocabulary, and context clues. Teachers explain that understanding words in a text is necessary to students’ understanding of what they are reading and provide strategies to use when they come to an unfamiliar word. The guide instructs teachers to model a think-aloud and other strategies, such as the use of picture clues, graphic features, nearby words, a dictionary or glossary, or word parts, to determine the meaning of words. The materials encourage teachers to point out content/academic vocabulary words in the text and use each word in a sentence.
Under the “Resources” tab, teachers locate vocabulary and idiom books and vocabulary word sorts in the Writing, “Vocabulary,” and “Word Work” sections. Teachers use the 20 vocabulary and idiom books for whole-class, small-group, or individual instruction. For example, the vocabulary book on air travel begins with a picture of an airport with the shuttle bus, terminal, control tower, and departure area labeled in the picture. These focus words are in the written text about the airport. The text proceeds with the same format, highlighting the ticket counter, security checkpoint, terminal, airplane, inside the airplane, runway, and baggage claim. Each labeled picture contains up to six labeled focus words from the corresponding text. Additionally, the vocabulary books come with four activities, including read, cloze, and label activities, which allow students to practice vocabulary in context. The resources also include the following graphic organizers for vocabulary instruction: KWL Chart, Vocabulary Web Wheel, Vocabulary Web diagram, and Word Meaning Map.
The materials include a vocabulary station in lesson plans that provides students with opportunities to work with vocabulary in a meaningful way, such as highlighting unknown vocabulary words in texts, completing graphic organizers, referring to glossaries in Leveled Books or other reference materials to determine the meaning of unknown words, creating personal dictionaries with vocabulary words of interest, and playing vocabulary games with a partner or in a small group. Teachers use station time within the literacy block to provide differentiated vocabulary instruction for students.
The materials include grade 5 word sorts that help students fine-tune higher-level thinking skills by having them categorize information. Students cut out and sort words according to the categories provided at the top of each sheet or by creating their own categories. There are more than 60 word sorts covering letters, sounds, content area topics, and open sorts.
Additionally, the materials include scaffolds and supports for teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for all learners. The “Differentiation Resources” include a below-level lesson and an above-level lesson. For example, in Unit 1, Week 3, teachers use the differentiated lessons to reinforce the concept of problem and solution as the “Key Vocabulary” component, and students apply this understanding throughout the context of the lesson. The materials provide a “Synonym Concentration Game,” “Picture Dictionary,” and “Word Meaning Map” to support vocabulary among all learners as part of this lesson. In Unit 4, Week 1, the below and above-level lessons support the concept of author’s purpose as the Key Vocabulary component that students apply throughout all activities. The materials provide a Word Meaning Map and Y-Chart to support vocabulary acquisition of all learners as part of this lesson. In Unit 8, Week 4, the differentiated lesson teaches the author’s point of view as the Key Vocabulary component, which students apply in all parts of the lesson. The materials for this lesson also provide a Word Meaning Map and Picture Dictionary to support vocabulary.
Additionally, lessons with each unit contain supports for English Learners regarding vocabulary acquisition, including “Content Objectives” that task students to use the content vocabulary in the correct context. The materials contain texts at different levels in different languages, including English, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Polish, Ukrainian, and British-English, that have glossaries to support vocabulary acquisition.
Furthermore, the EL resources provide “Vocabulary Power Packs” for Grades 3-5 to specifically build content and academic vocabulary. For example, the Economics Vocabulary Power Pack takes the students through the basics of how the economic system works in the context of obtaining a new bicycle. Academic power words in this pack are analyze and evaluate. Content vocabulary is on each topic card. For example, on the “Resources and Capital” card, the content vocabulary words are business, entrepreneur, and produce. The pack also includes a “Topic/Describe Graphic Organizer,” an economics picture dictionary, and several vocabulary quizzes to check for understanding.
The materials include a detailed plan to support and hold students accountable as they self-select their text and practice previously taught reading strategies while engaging in independent reading. The reading incentive program provides procedures and/or protocols for teachers to utilize to assist students in making and achieving reading goals.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide a 120-minute literacy block framework, which includes 35 minutes allotted daily for small group instruction and a station rotation schedule to foster students’ independent reading. Teachers use the “Literacy Curriculum Map Implementation Guide” for suggested activities and resources in the “Read with Purpose and Understanding Reading Strategy” to guide students in self-selecting texts to read independently. Furthermore, the materials provide reading strategy teacher guides that assist teachers with implementation procedures that teach students to self-select texts for independent reading. For example, the guide instructs teachers to explain there are questions students may ask themselves when choosing a book, such as “Am I interested in the topic of this book?” and “After previewing a couple of pages, do I know most of the words?”
Additionally, the materials contain benchmark passages that teachers use to administer running records. These establish students’ independent reading levels, so they can choose texts accordingly. Students may also record themselves reading the benchmark passages or books and send recordings to the teacher for scoring. After assessing, teachers use the student profile pages within the assessment reports to monitor individual reading rate and level progress reports and guide students to make appropriate choices from the materials’ “personalized library of leveled books and additional reading passages available in printable, projectable, online, and mobile formats to each student.”
Next, the Literacy Curriculum Map Implementation Guide recommends teachers work with students to set personal reading goals based on target skills, previous instruction, or assessments. Teachers follow specific steps to create student rosters for independent reading and select a student’s reading level or use the reading placement tool within the materials that identifies the appropriate starting point for students based upon performance on reading activities. The materials contain specific guidance on book levels and how to determine a student’s instructional reading level. A chart is available for additional guidance. Teachers download personalized Student Login Cards and distribute them to students so they can log in to the portal in class or at home. A letter is available in multiple languages for parents that explains how they can receive progress reports.
Teachers record student goals and measure student progress throughout the week as students read independently for sustained periods of time in the fluency, reading, writing, and phonics centers. Each unit contains literacy stations with an independent reading focus. For example, in Unit 1, Week 2, one literacy station objective states that students spend approximately 35 minutes independently reading. Furthermore, in the fluency center, students listen to examples of fluent reading or read or reread aloud to themselves or to a buddy a variety of texts, including instructional level texts and an array of genres, including poetry, reader’s theater scripts, fiction, and nonfiction. Students can reread texts from shared reading, small-group instruction, or read-alouds. Additionally, in the reading center, students self-select a text from the classroom library or the materials to practice reading for an authentic purpose and increase their reading proficiency, endurance, and confidence as they sustain uninterrupted reading over a 15 to 20 minute period. Specifically, in Unit 1, Week 1, the reading station instructions state: “Have students select a book from the class library or Kids A-Z and read independently or with a partner to practice reading with purpose and understanding.” Also, the “Connected Classroom” has an “add on” component that allows teachers to assign texts to students that are program generated for fluency practice and goal setting.
The grade 5 materials contain “Project-Based Learning Packs” that task students with investigating a high-interest topic to answer a “Driving Question.” Using the resources in the pack, students collaborate and develop creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills through guided inquiry while reading independently. Also, there is a “Literature Circles Overview” that guides teachers to provide book talks that allow students to make book choices before gathering with four to six other students in a Literature Circle to further discuss the text.
The materials provide sufficient materials for teachers to support students as they develop composition skills across multiple text types, such as literary, informational, and argumentative, as well as writing for different purposes and audiences, including correspondence written in a professional or friendly manner.
Evidence Includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide support for students to develop composition skills across multiple text types for a variety of purposes and audiences per the TEKS. The Grade 5 Implementation Guide states, “Writing begins with teacher-directed lessons followed by time for students to write.” The materials contain differentiated process writing lessons that expose students to the four main writing genres: informative/explanatory, narrative, opinion/argument, and transactional. Each six-part process writing lesson takes approximately two weeks to complete. The lesson begins with whole-class instruction for teaching and modeling the writing process and moves into students independently applying what they have learned during each lesson component and finally creating their composition by the end of the lesson.
The grade 5 TEKS specify students compose correspondence such as thank you notes or letters. In Unit 1, students complete a Business Letter assignment as teachers guide them to convey information about a product or service utilizing the Business Letter Graphic Organizer. The materials guide the teacher to note the differences and purpose of the formal voice used within a business letter versus the informal voice used within a friendly letter.
In Unit 3, students complete a friendly letter. The scripted lesson guides students to understand the purpose of friendly letters while using the Idea Box to brainstorm ideas. The teacher displays an exemplar before guiding students through writing a practice prompt. Students utilize the Friendly Letter Revision Checklist and Editing Guide to guide the drafting and self-assessment of their work before publication. The teacher instructs students how to fold their letter, address the envelope, seal the envelope, and create a stamp on the envelope before mailing. Writing rubrics help the teacher score student writing based upon developmental level.
Furthermore, the grade 5 TEKS specify students compose literary texts, including personal narratives and poetry using genre characteristics. In Unit 2, students write a fairy tale. Teachers guide students to brainstorm what they already know about fairy tales, including good and evil characters, typical settings, and problem and solution. Then, students create a draft using the Fairy Tale Graphic Organizer and revise using the Fairy Tale Revision Checklist, which focuses on word choice and sentence fluency. In the editing phase, students use the editing guide to check for capitalization, spelling, and end punctuation. Students may also reference the Fairy Tale Poster to make sure their pieces are complete before publishing in either a storybook, play, or paper format.
In Unit 4, students complete a compare and contrast essay assignment. The lesson suggests teachers use Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs (no authors included) and complete a Venn Diagram as a whole group to support students as they name similarities and differences between the texts. Teachers challenge more fluent and advanced-level writers to examine the similarities and differences in mood, theme, motivation of the antagonist, and form. The teacher guides students to discuss exemplar pieces, noting the hook and the thesis statement. Then students use the Compare and Contrast Graphic Organizer to structure a draft. During the revision phase, students use the Editing Guide to provide constructive feedback to one another, helping each other grow as writers, and then publish.
In Unit 5, students participate in the writing process as they complete a realistic fiction writing assignment. The scripted lesson guides teachers to have students discuss with a partner how it felt when they lost something and record thoughts as brainstorming. Then as students create a draft, the teacher reminds them that the characters, events, and setting need to be believable and also that dialogue can help convey messages to the reader. There are prompts throughout the writing process lesson to help the teacher appropriately guide students, such as “What is the problem in this story?” “Who faces the problem?” “Does anything need to happen before readers can learn about the problem?” “What happens after the problem?” “How is the problem solved?” Students use the Realistic Fiction Revision Checklist and Editing Guide before moving into publishing and presenting their piece. Additionally, the materials contain poetry writing lessons to support the development of the traits of good writing on eleven poetry types: acrostic, choral poetry, cinquain, clerihew, diamante, free verse, haiku, limerick, rap, tanka, and triangle triplet. The poetry writing lessons include detailed instructions for teachers and examples of each poetry type with scaffolded writing worksheets for students.
The grade 5 TEKS also specify students compose informational texts using a clear central idea and genre characteristics. In Unit 6, students complete the biography and begin by writing questions they would ask Barack Obama. The lesson provides suggested questions for students needing guidance at different developmental levels (beginner, developing, fluent). Teachers use biography samples to note important events and their significance in chronological order. The Biography Graphic Organizer helps students organize information while creating the first draft. Then students use the Biography Revising Checklist and the Editing Checklist before publishing in either a multimedia format, a timeline, or a formal report.
Finally, the grade 5 TEKS specifies students compose argumentative texts, including opinion essays using genre characteristics. In Unit 7, students complete a pro/con writing assignment that combines informational report writing with persuasive writing. The lesson helps students understand the purpose of using factual evidence when writing about an issue as well as of providing the pros and cons of the matter so that the reader has information to form a personal opinion. Teachers guide students in a pro/con discussion about whether recess should be part of the school day. Then, students label the introduction, the body, and the conclusion of a pro/con writing sample before writing their first draft, utilizing the Pro/Con Revision Checklist and the Editing Guide before publishing in a newspaper or multimedia format or as a speech or debate.
The materials include written tasks requiring students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported evidence gained from reading or listening to text to support their opinions and claims.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials contain written tasks that require students to use clear and concise information to demonstrate the knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts. Students have opportunities to engage in writing activities that demonstrate the use of textual evidence in supporting their opinions and claims. The use of rubrics, graphic organizers, constructed responses, literary essays, and published writing support students as they express comprehension of texts.
The materials provide Writer's Response sheets for select titles from levels E–Z that encourage students to reflect on the deeper meaning of each book using leveled texts on students’ reading level, or teachers may elect to use the texts with varied student groupings in accordance with current skill or concept of study. Prompts support writing that applies, synthesizes, or evaluates a book's enduring understanding. For example, Unit 1 focuses on the topic “What Are Some Important Events that Helped Shape the United States” and contains many biographies about influential individuals. The teacher may elect to have students explore the leveled text Early Moments in Rock Music History by Amy Weber, which documents the history of rock 'n' roll. The book also focuses on the course of technological changes and their influence on the growth in popularity of rock music. It describes American society in the days of early rock 'n' roll and how economic and cultural influences helped to create rock music we know today. This leveled text contains a written response activity. Students use the information learned about the impact of music on society and write why they think some people are against some forms of freedom of expression.
Unit 2 focuses on the topic “Elements of a Story” and contains fictional texts, fairy tales, and legends in helping students to discern fiction from non-fiction. The teacher may elect to have students explore the leveled text Miguel and King Arthur by Lori Polydoros. This book depicts a character who is frustrated by his continual failures at bat playing baseball who magically becomes a character in the book The Knights of the Round Table. He learns that success and adoration are not everything and that being truthful with oneself and others is one of the best life skills to acquire. The writer response piece has students write a reflection of how this is applicable within their own lives in how to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” before passing judgment.
In Unit 2, Week 4, students use textual evidence, including the use of figurative language and other literary devices, to determine the author's voice within a text. The teacher asks questions such as “What does the author mean when they say...?” “What is the author describing?” “What is the author comparing...to?” “Why do you think the author chose to use these words?” and “What effect does figurative language have in a text?”
In Unit 4, Week 1, students use evidence from the text to determine the author's purpose for writing the text. Teachers guide discussion utilizing the following questions: “Why did the author write this text? How did the author present the information? What did you notice about the words the author used? What does the author want you to know about the topic (nonfiction)? What does the author want you to know about the story or characters (fiction)? Is this text going to teach me something, make me laugh or cry, or try to get me to do or believe something?” The teacher guides students to connect to previously read text and discuss the author's purpose, using text evidence when it is not explicitly stated and the point of view of the text. Students identify text evidence and write quotes with page numbers or sections on a graphic organizer.
Unit 6 focuses on the topic “Living Things and Their Environment” and contains selections that reflect how living things play an important role within the environment. The teacher may elect to have students explore the leveled text What Do You Think About Climate Change by Alfred J. Smuskiewicz. This book informs readers of the evidence for climate change, discusses possible causes for the changes, and touches on possible results of climate change. The author asks readers specific questions, encouraging the formation of opinions, and also offers ideas for personal changes people can make to help fight global warming. The writing response piece has students write about the importance of protecting our planet for the future.
In Unit 7, the teacher guides students through the reading of texts such as Nuclear Power: Promise or Peril by Michael Daley, Rain Forests: A Pro/Con Issue by Linda Carlson Johnson, and School Dress Codes: A Pro/Con Issue by Barbara Cruz. Students then choose a topic to research and develop a Pro/Con writing assignment. Students use the Pro/Con Revision Checklist to verify textual evidence listed as both pros and cons within their draft. Then students practice supporting their pros and cons with reasoning and evidence in peer discussion and deliberation prior to publication.
The materials provide opportunities for students to apply composition convention skills through coherent use of the elements of the writing process, including planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing, in increasingly complex contexts over the course of the year. Students have opportunities to publish their writing. Additionally, the materials provide students opportunities to practice and apply the conventions of academic language when speaking and writing. Grammar, punctuation, and usage are taught systematically, both in and out of context, and materials provide editing practice in students’ own writing as the year continues.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials facilitate the use of the writing process within the curriculum. Within each of the eight units, the teacher guides students through the writing process to publish a writing assignment. The lessons span two to three weeks and use the elements of the writing process: planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing. Additionally, teachers guide students to discuss and write the conventions using academic language, including punctuation and grammar as part of the writing process and also as part of the Grammar and Word Work lesson portion within all writing lessons. Each genre is divided into several text-type lessons at four developmental writing levels (beginning, early developing, developing, and fluent), which helps teachers “match” the range of skills and abilities of writers. Lessons focus on organization, ideas, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation. Lessons include the following resources to support teachers and students throughout the process: lesson plans, graphic organizer samples, writing samples, graphic organizers, revision checklists, classroom posters, and rubrics. Each lesson begins with an “Experience It” activity, which establishes a common experience for initial exploration of the genre text type, activates prior knowledge, and creates an authentic context for the whole group to create a practice draft. Additionally, teachers encourage students to self-assess and provide peer feedback regarding punctuation and grammar conventions using an editing checklist. At the end of each lesson, teachers review a rubric that students may use to score a published piece of writing, which allows them to reflect on their writing and apply what they learn to the next piece of writing.
In Unit 1, students write a business letter. Teachers guide students to understand how to write to convey information about a product or service by reviewing a sample, noting the necessary elements to include, and focusing on the message and the need for formal voice. Students use the Business Letter Graphic Organizer to create an initial draft and the Business Letter Revising Checklist and the Editing Checklist to check for spelling, syntax, and punctuation before moving into the publication phase.
Grammar and word work are systematically presented throughout the curriculum. The Scope and Sequence presents the skills that are taught each week and in each unit. Unit 1 has lesson activities to support simple complete sentences, sound devices, declarative sentences, subject-verb agreement, capitalization of titles, vowel phonograms, pronouns, complex endings, comma splices, quotation marks in titles, homophones (minor/miner, berry/bury, lesson/lessen, morning/mourning, very/vary), synonyms, and antonyms.
In Unit 4, the teacher guides students to write a compare and contrast essay after completing a Venn Diagram as a whole group, so students see the similarities and differences between the two texts regarding characters, setting, problem, and solution. The teacher models how an example essay utilizes the components exemplified in the Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Graphic Organizer prior to students completing the first draft. During the revision phase, students provide constructive feedback to one another. Students use the Editing Guide to edit their own work and the work of their peers before publication.
Unit 4 has lesson activities to support metaphors, idioms, prefixes (in-, im-, il-, ir-, non-), prepositions, prepositional phrases, root words (medi, cred, credit, chron), suffixes/inflectional endings (-al, -ial, -ian, -ic, -ical), compound sentences, imperative sentences, past-tense irregular verbs, adages/proverbs, and perfect-tense verbs.
In Unit 7, students write a pro/con writing assignment that combines informational report writing with persuasive writing. Teachers guide students through a class pro/con discussion about whether recess should be part of the school day; then, with teacher guidance, students label the introduction, the body, and the conclusion of the pro/con writing sample before writing their first draft. Students use the Pro/Con Revision Checklist and the Editing Guide to help correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation before publication. Students may publish in a newspaper format, a multimedia format, or as a speech or debate.
Unit 8 has lesson activities to support imagery, root words (rupt, strain, strict, string, sol), prefixes (sol-, mono-, poly-, multi-), vowel teams, digraphs, diphthongs, suffixes/inflectional endings (-arium, -ary, -orium, -ory, -astery, -etery), capitalization, abbreviations, initials, acronyms, organizations, and multisyllabic words with r-controlled syllables and final stable syllables.
The materials provide printable or projectable samples of graphic organizers and grammar and word work activities that coincide with the leveled readers to provide students additional practice. For example, teachers may access a lesson that accompanies the book The Cat in the Palace by Rus Buyok (Level Y), which focuses on recognizing and using complex sentences and identifying and using words with the suffix -ly correctly in sentences. Students complete worksheets to work on these skills. All text-type lessons include the following resources to support teachers and students throughout the process: graphic organizers, writing sample, revision checklist, classroom poster relating to content in lesson, and a scoring rubric.
The materials allow students to practice and apply cursive handwriting. While the guidance for teachers is limited within the materials, teachers have support for cursive handwriting implementation. However, the materials do not include year-long guidance for assessing, measuring, and supporting students’ handwriting development.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The grade 5 TEKS require students to write legibly in cursive. Therefore, the implementation guide provides a writing schedule for the curriculum and states that handwriting/cursive is taught in every unit, every week alongside grade-level content. Teachers access lessons that begin with teacher-directed lessons followed by time for students to write. During independent practice, the lessons guide teachers to confer with students individually or in small groups to guide writing development and to differentiate instruction. The process writing lessons expose students to the four main writing genres while also providing required practice in cursive handwriting.
The materials provide resources that teachers access for instruction and practice in cursive handwriting. For example, the grade 5 resources feature ruled sheets that provide practice forming and connecting cursive letters and forming cursive words and sentences. Furthermore, teachers may access word and sentence practice sheets that support academic success in spelling, writing, and note-taking. Teachers may either print out individual resources by type of practice or all resources for grade 5.
Additionally, the materials include sequenced instruction that teaches lowercase cursive letters first before moving on to uppercase letters and then word and sentence practice. Also, the materials group cursive letters by approach stroke type so students gain confidence in one stroke type before moving on to others.
In Unit 1, Week 1, students practice the undercurve lowercase letters of i, t, u, w, r, s, p, and j. Students write these letters in isolation on lined paper, connect letters using cursive strokes, and then trace the letters before writing independently on the lines. Additionally, students may write vocabulary words beginning with the letter i in cursive, such as interpret, identify, inhabit, inspect, Ida B. Wells, and Ireland, as well as sentences such as “Ida B. Wells was an abolitionist and journalist from Mississippi.” “Many American immigrants migrated from Ireland.”
In Unit 4, Week 3, students practice the undercurve loop lowercase letters of e, l, h, k, f, and b. Students write these letters in isolation on lined paper, connect letters using cursive strokes, and then trace the letters before writing independently on the lines. Additionally, students may write vocabulary words beginning with the letter f in cursive, such as folktale, friction, frontier, fluency, Federalist, and Fibonacci, as well as sentences such as “The Federalists formed the first American political party.” “Fibonacci formed a very famous mathematical formula.” These types of activities allow students to practice letters learned previously and connect them with the current letters of practice.
In Unit 8, Week 2, students practice the overcurve lowercase letters of n, m, x, y, z, and v. Students write these letters in isolation on lined paper, connect letters using the cursive strokes, and then trace the letters before writing independently on the lines. Additionally, students may write vocabulary words beginning with the letter z in cursive, such as zoologist, zenith, zodiac, zygote, Zachary Taylor, and Zeppelin, as well as sentences such as “Zachary Taylor was the second president to die while in office.” “Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin made sizable aircrafts called zeppelins.” These types of activities allow students to practice letters learned in previous units in connecting the current letters of practice.
While the materials contain cursive supports within the lessons, there is limited teacher guidance as to stroke formation in modeling cursive for students.
The materials provide day-to-day opportunities for students to be actively engaged in discussions about the texts they are reading, including expectations that discussions are text-based. Teachers access speaking and listening lessons within each Unit. Additionally, oral tasks require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended, text-supported claims to demonstrate the analysis and synthesis of texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Implementation Guide states: “The literacy block provides opportunities for students to build their oral language skills through academic conversations. As students participate in different parts of the literacy block, they should engage in discussions about the texts they have read, including shared texts, texts used for independent reading, and texts that have been read aloud. In addition, students should discuss the weekly strategies and skills. These discussions can happen in a whole-group setting or in small groups as students work together in centers or stations. During discussions with others, students will ask and answer questions about the texts they read, the strategies and skills they learn, and the Unit and/or Weekly Questions provided in the Literacy Curriculum Map.” Additionally, the materials provide a listening and speaking objective within the “Read Aloud” component, which states, “Listen actively, ask relevant questions, and respond appropriately by answering questions, determining the main ideas of what has been presented, and/or commenting on others' thoughts.” Furthermore, the materials guide teachers to ask discussion questions, such as “What do you need to do to prepare for a discussion?” “What do you think about...?” “Share what you learned about....” “Paraphrase what...just said.” “Why are we talking about...?” and “What questions can you ask to clarify...?” The Implementation section of this guidance document instructs the teacher to “have students frequently participate in discussions with a focus on listening and responding” and to model how to listen attentively, how to summarize or paraphrase what someone has said, how to express and present ideas in a clear manner using visuals, and how to elaborate on what someone has said to continue collaboration on an idea. Also, the materials suggest teachers use student listening tasks, such as turn and talk to summarize or retell, and ask students to verbalize connections to what was said or read.
Speaking and listening opportunities about texts are built into the Read Aloud portion of each lesson within each unit. Teachers guide students to orally summarize the text and make text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections to share with a partner. For example, in Unit 2, students read The Labors of Hercules adapted by Keith and Sarah Kortemartin. The teacher guides students to discuss the text and its connection to the weekly question, “Why do two or more characters react differently in the same situation?” In Unit 5, students read Leo the Lion by Steven Accardi and discuss the text and its connection to the weekly question, “How does cooperation help to facilitate respect and acceptance?” In Unit 8, students read Several Billion and Counting by Cynthia Kennedy Henzel and discuss the text and its connection to the weekly question, “Why is it important for people to protect and conserve Earth’s water?”
Additionally, teachers use “Literature Circles” materials to guide students to use specific information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate comprehension. For example, the teacher leads students through a guided discussion that includes making predictions, asking questions, and summarizing the text.
Furthermore, teachers use the “Comprehension Skills” packs to guide students to respond orally to text-dependent questions. For example, in the Narrative Point of View skills lesson, students respond orally and/or discuss with a partner questions regarding the model passage, A Little Mistake, such as: “What do you know about the boy (from the text)?” and “Why do you think the author chose to have the boy tell his story directly, instead of using a third-person narrator or another character’s point of view?”
Also, the leveled texts included in the materials all contain a “Think, Collaborate, and Discussion” section, which contains discussion cards to accompany the text. Teachers use these cards as discussion starters for literature circles, as essay or journal entry prompts, as game cards, or to focus class discussion on the purpose of the reading. For example, some discussion questions found in Robin Hood and the King adapted by Katherine Follett are “What caused Robin Hood and his Merry Men to break the law? How was Robin Hood different from the king? Why do you think the king wanted Robin Hood to serve him in his court?”
The materials provide teachers with implementation support to engage students in productive teamwork and student-led discussion in both formal and informal settings. Additionally, teachers access routine speaking and listening lessons, which guide them to model speaking/listening opportunities and provide common discussion questions that lead students to create organized presentations/performances while speaking in a clear and concise manner and using the conventions of language. However, the lessons do not contain grade-level protocols for student discussion.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Implementation guide states: “It is important to start the school year by teaching students the rules and expectations associated with different types of conversations. Take time to develop and practice expectations for classroom discussions. Students should practice taking turns, listening when others are speaking, and understanding nonverbal behaviors and cues that add meaning to conversations.”
The materials provide routine opportunities for students to engage in discussion in expressing their thinking through a “Listening and Speaking” lesson component embedded within the “Shared Reading” block. Additionally, Week 3 of each unit has a Speaking and Listening lesson within the “Writing” section. While these lessons provide the objective, purpose, discussion questions, and implementation guidance, the materials lack evidence of a protocol for student discussion. However, within the “Project-based Learning” resources, the materials provide a “Teamwork Rubric” that addresses team discussions. The rubric is a checklist that allows students to evaluate their participation in the group discussion. Examples of discussion criteria include “I listened with care, spoke in turn, and stayed on topic,” “I asked questions when I did not understand,” “I explained my own idea and linked my ideas to what others said,” and “I could decide what the main ideas were and tell details from what was said. This helped me organize what was discussed.”
Additionally, each unit provides guidance for teachers to lead students through the writing process. After students publish, they have opportunities to present in varied formats, including an oral presentation. For example, in Unit 2, students write a fairy tale. After publishing, students present in either a storybook, play, or paper format. In Unit 5, students write a personal narrative. Students may choose to publish and present their personal narrative as a paper, a multimedia presentation, or a Podcast. In Unit 8, students complete a persuasive writing assignment. Students choose to publish and present as a debate, a newspaper article, a multimedia presentation, or a speech.
Furthermore, teachers access “Literature Circle” materials, which provide a structure for student-led group discussions. The teacher’s role is to set the groups’ academic goals, model instruction, and facilitate the literature circles using the quick guide that details routines and processes. Then, students engage in assigned roles to share meaningful conversations, focusing on a text to deepen comprehension. Specifically, the roles include discussion leader, predictor and questioner, skill master, summarizer, travel tracker, conflict connector, character/people tracker, wordsmith, illustrator, researcher, literary reactor, and theme tractor. Students focus on their role as they read a text and then regroup to allow students to present prepared findings to the group.
Also, teachers may utilize the “Reader’s Theater” scripts to allow students to give organized performances and speak in a clear and concise manner using conventions of language. The teacher encourages readers to practice their lines to promote fluent delivery of the scripts, which are available in fiction and non-fiction, and most are multi-level to include all levels of readers in the performance. Titles in grade 5 include Zoos: Pro or Con?, Tom Sawyer, The Black Stones, and The School Versus James Holt.
The materials support the identification and summary of high-quality primary and secondary sources and engage students in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes to confront and analyze various aspects of a topic using relevant sources available throughout the curriculum. Additionally, the materials provide sufficient student practice opportunities for organizing and presenting researched topics appropriate for grade-level audiences.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials engage students in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes supporting the identification and summary of high-quality primary and secondary sources. For example, in Unit 1, students ask and answer questions using various informational nonfiction texts. In Unit 1, Week 1, students read and annotate Seeds of Revolution by Terry Miller Shannon and Annette Carruthers and practice asking and answering questions about key details in the text before, during, and after reading to show understanding. The lesson guides teachers to explain to students that asking questions about a topic or text before and during reading and then looking for answers to those questions while reading will help them better comprehend the text. The teacher models the inquiry process and how to stop, restate, and answer a question. Students work in pairs to generate and answer questions using a KWLS chart. Students create a timeline of the events leading up to the Revolutionary War and finally write an essay analyzing how the events interacted to start a war, citing text evidence.
In Unit 4, Week 4, students read the Comic Cons by Keith and Sarah Kortemartin and address the focus question “Why are comic cons popular in modern-day culture?” Students have the opportunity to create a comic strip featuring a favorite fictional character.
Throughout Unit 7, students respond to text-dependent questions using multiple texts regarding the overarching question “How and why have people, goods and ideas moved around the world throughout history?” Specifically, students read texts such as The United Nations by Ann Weil and Sean McCollum and cite text evidence using dialogue frames. The lesson guides teachers to explain that the text can be used to locate the answers to questions for their research and to point out that answering text-dependent questions is part of the research process. Students then practice finding answers to text-dependent questions with the understanding that some text-dependent questions will require the reader to read multiple paragraphs, multiple texts, and even look at text features.
Furthermore, the materials support student practice in organizing and presenting their ideas and information in accordance with the purpose of the research for an appropriate grade-level audience. For example, there are five Project-Based Learning Packs for grade 5. The topics are America’s Army, Hero’s Journey, Rethink Farming, Explore History With Technology, and How Revolution Led to Republic. Each pack includes a driving question, anchor texts, primary and secondary resources for students to use to research, a Lesson Plan to guide teachers in facilitating group projects, a project outline, and a project rubric. For example, within America’s Army pack, the guiding question is “Why did the United States establish an army, and how can we show how that army has changed over time?” The anchor text is The Gettysburg Address by Jennifer McStotts. Students access eight primary sources to assist in their research, including “Army Jobs,” “Army Ranks,” “The Face of the Army—Yesterday and Today,” “History of Battle Uniforms,” “Join the Army,” “Letters Home,” “Interview with Sergeant First Class Penny McInnis,” “USA Retired,” and “Lee’s Difficult Decision” and five additional secondary sources, including “The Army By the Numbers,” “Changing Uniforms,” “Establishing an American Army,” “Food for the Troops,” and “Military Transportation.” Teachers guide students to use a “Project Outline” and an “Investigation Planner” to organize their investigation questions and summarize their findings. The Investigation Planners are graphic organizers with a space to put the driving question on the top and three investigation questions underneath the driving question; there is also space to track the sources used to answer each investigation question. Students use the second page of the planner to compile main ideas and details from their research findings. Teachers access Lesson Plans for each Project-Based Learning pack for project ideas with various presentation formats. For example, for America’s Army unit, project suggestions include a mural, an illustrated timeline, a multimedia presentation, or a written report to explain how the US Army has changed over time. Finally, the “Project Presentation Rubric” guides students through expected standards for organizing ideas, using props, speaking clearly, and presenting as a team and includes the following scores: Needs Work, Almost There, and Meets Standard.
The materials provide coherently sequenced text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to build and apply interconnected knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language within individual texts as well as across multiple texts. Additionally, lessons involving literacy skills repeat as the text level increases and feature varied genres throughout the year. This provides students opportunities to apply their skill acquisition, thus fostering independence.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The material’s Scope and Sequence provides a detailed account of the content taught within the eight units. Text-dependent questions are included in each unit each week. Additionally, each lesson contains questions and tasks for students to incorporate reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language in accordance with the TEKS. Furthermore, literacy stations integrate reading, writing, thinking, listening, and speaking; students have the opportunity to practice, apply, and review vocabulary, syntax, and fluency skills they learn throughout the literacy block.
The materials provide teachers guidance in implementing “Literature Circles” that foster deep discussion of texts as students analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within individual texts and across multiple texts. Teachers divide students into groups to read a chosen book independently and then meet together for discussion. Students use bookmarks to jot notes as they read, and then they apply their thinking in writing using the “Journal Pages.” Journal Pages become their reference tools for when students participate in their group's discussion.
The materials also contain close reads, which require students to analyze, evaluate, and think critically about a given text through multiple readings of the text. Some passages are also connected to Leveled Books at a similar reading level, enabling students to create cross-textual connections.
Teachers may access “Project-Based Learning Packs,” which also integrate literacy tasks as students investigate a high-interest topic and answer a driving question. Students collaborate and develop creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills through guided inquiry and the use of planning or organizing tools. Students apply and gain independence in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking and components of vocabulary, syntax, and fluency. For example, a grade 5 PBL topic, “America’s Army,” has students quote accurately, determine the main idea, explain the relationships between two or more events, ideas, or concepts in a historical text, and determine the meaning of words and phrases relevant to the topic and subject area. Students work collaboratively to develop a project after reading various texts and literature pieces (books, charts, maps, interviews, illustrations, letters, photos) as resources. At the culmination of the presentations, students write a reflective narrative demonstrating what they learned.
Furthermore, the materials contain integrated high-quality, text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge, ideas, themes, and connections within individual texts as well as across multiple texts, building conceptual knowledge and targeting complex elements. For example, in Unit 2, students focus on the question “Why do two or more characters react differently in the same situation?” Teachers use Odysseus and the Bag of Winds by Troy Wolff in shared reading, The Labors of Hercules adapted by Keith and Sarah Kortemartin in read-aloud, and The Sisters Three, Orpheus and Eurydice, or The Death of Baldur for small group instruction. Students then practice with content and academic vocabulary during their vocabulary station time and respond to the weekly question during the writing station time using information from the texts read throughout the week. Also, teachers may use the Extension Activity to guide students to write a paper in response to the question “Are the Norns good or evil? Explain.” Students include details from the text to support their opinion.
In Unit 7, students develop a Pro/Con piece after reading several texts, such as Nuclear Power: Promise or Peril by Michael Daley, Rain Forests: A Pro/Con Issue by Linda Carlson Johnson, and School Dress Codes: A Pro/Con Issue by Barbara Cruz. Students research an issue and write the pros and cons onto a graphic organizer prior to creating their draft.
In Unit 7, students focus on the question “What have people done to expand or protect their interactions with others around the world?” Teachers use The Great Wall of China by Kira Freed in shared reading, The United Nations by Ann Weil and Sean McCollum in read-aloud, and The Panama Canal by John Perritano in small group instruction. Students practice content and academic vocabulary during their vocabulary station time and respond to the weekly question during the writing station time. After reading The United Nations, students choose one of the six divisions of the United Nations and write a report about how it works to serve humanity.
The materials provide distributed practice throughout all units. The lesson design includes scaffolds for students to demonstrate the integration of literacy skills that spiral the entire school year.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials support distributed practice over the course of the year with opportunities for students to demonstrate and apply knowledge, skills, and concepts. Lessons repeat throughout the units with common objectives, purpose, discussion questions, and implementation procedures. Due to the same discussion questions routinely reinforcing the ELAR TEKS, students incorporate previous learning into the current lesson of study. The weekly lessons are in the same format with Shared Reading, Read Aloud, Grammar and Word Work, Writing, Small Group Instruction, and Stations. For example, in Unit 1, Week 2, students analyze and explain key details in a text to determine the main idea. Discussion questions include “What is this text mostly about?” “What is the big, or main, idea?” “What details support the main idea?” “What details are most important to understand the main idea?” Teachers explain the difference between a topic and the main idea (topics are broad ideas, whereas the main idea is a sentence describing the essence of the text or section of text) and point out that the details describe extra information that supports the main idea. Students identify the main idea of a text or section of a text and find evidence that supports it utilizing a graphic organizer. As a culminating activity, students use the main idea of a text to create an oral or written summary of a section of the text. This same lesson is also in Unit 4, Week 2; Unit 7, Week 2; and Unit 8, Week 1. The Scope and Sequence provides teachers a reference point regarding how the lessons spiral throughout the school year. While the basic lesson format remains consistent, the book level increases (and therefore the rigor increases) as the units progress. Additionally, the genres and text types vary so that students have opportunities to apply the skill and concept knowledge at an increased rigor across varied types of texts.
The lessons provide numerous opportunities to interact with resources such as rubrics and graphic organizers throughout the course of the year, fostering independence and deepening understanding of the grade-level TEKS. Teachers access rubrics as part of each type of writing process lesson as students complete writing assignments across the year.
The materials provide an array of grade 5 fiction and nonfiction text types to ensure students find topics of interest to them while also connecting literacy and content-area instruction. For example, there are 29 levels of printable and projectable electronic books with progressively increasing text complexity to help students improve comprehension and fluency. Students read texts at their level and in their areas of interest anytime with web access to get the practice they need to become better, more confident readers.
The materials also include scaffolds for students to demonstrate integration of literacy skills that spiral over the school year. The grade 5 “Implementation Guide” states that scaffolding is through the integration of the “Grammar & Word Work Skills,” which are introduced every week and can be used for spiraling to gauge prior knowledge and explicitly teach the skills. Furthermore, the guide provides teachers the recommendation of setting Weekly Goals to gauge evidence of progress in literacy skills over the school year. The materials also provide teachers many resources, including a variety of graphic organizers and rubrics to reinforce developmental levels while providing an accountability piece for the lesson.
The materials contain close reads that require students to analyze, evaluate, and think critically about a given text through multiple readings of the text. Some passages connect to leveled books, which allows a teacher to guide students to cross-textual connections. The close reads allow students to work collaboratively with intentional student pairings and groupings to foster scaffolded learning and language supports. Students engage in scaffolded questions during each reading of the text. For example, a grade 5 Close Read humorous fiction passage titled “A Good Bad Answer” (no author listed) contains scaffolded questions for student discussion. After the first reading, students answer the main idea and details questions. Students reread the passage and then address questions, making inferences and determining the author’s message/word choice. After the third reading, students examine the meaning and value of the text, the point of view, meaning, draw conclusions, and make connections by engaging with questions.
Furthermore, nonfiction close reads are labeled with a text structure of either compare and contrast, problem and solution, cause and effect, sequence, or descriptive. Teachers can select texts based upon the text structure as a means of spiraling with an increased nonfiction text level, thus enhancing rigor.
The materials provide students the opportunity to sequentially and systematically develop knowledge of grade-level phonics patterns and spelling knowledge, along with word recognition and word analysis skills both in and out of context as delineated and sequenced in the TEKS for grade 5. Additionally, the materials provide support for students in need of remediation to achieve mastery.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Teachers access both “Decodable Books” and “Phonics Passages” to provide systematic, sequenced phonics instruction and word analysis skills practice within the leveled readers. Additionally, the “Supplementary Lesson Ideas” provide teachers with ideas for engaging students in the study of phonics using visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile senses. The materials encourage teachers to use cueing systems, including semantics (what makes sense), syntax (what “sounds right” grammatically), and graphophonemic knowledge (the way a word looks and sounds), which is not aligned to the science of teaching reading.
The materials also guide teachers to provide instruction based on student needs. Teachers use the informal assessments within the materials to assess students weekly to determine skill gaps and the instructional focus for remediation. Each “Grammar and Word Work” lesson component contains “Differentiation Resources” to support students needing remediation. These resources include but are not limited to worksheets, graphic organizers, center activities, and word sorts. Students work within the current skill of study, but these differentiated resources provide the added support and scaffolding needed to build skill mastery. Teachers may also access the “Grade 5 Pause Point Phonics Lessons,” which provide instruction on the foundational literacy skills for either whole class or small group instruction based on student need. Each lesson provides guidance regarding Instructional Support and Support for English Language Learners.
The materials also contain “Word Work Centers,” which provide students opportunities to work with words. The Word Work Learning Centers focus on spelling patterns, affixes, high-frequency words, and relationships between words. These center activities are primarily geared for lower elementary, but this resource is available for students needing additional remediation.
Additionally, the materials contain a “Focused Instruction” component, which includes High/Low Text Sets. The text sets have a lesson plan, a vocabulary focus, and graphic organizers to help teachers scaffold learning for students.
The “Tutoring and Mentoring Pack” provides teachers further options for remediation through an extensive collection of printable, research-based materials in six instructional categories: alphabet, phonological awareness, phonics, high-frequency words, fluency, and comprehension. Teachers may access the K-2 Foundational Skills Curriculum and locate needed lessons within the scope and sequence in order to meet the remediation needs of lower-level students.
The materials develop knowledge of grade-level phonics patterns, spelling proficiency, and word analysis skills as delineated in the TEKS for grade 5 through the Grammar and Word Work component. For example, in Unit 1, Week 3, students practice decoding multisyllabic words with closed syllables; open syllables; VCe syllables; vowel teams, including digraphs and diphthongs; r-controlled syllables; and final stable syllables. In Unit 3, Week 2, students practice decoding words using advanced knowledge of the influence of prefixes and suffixes on base words. In Unit 7, Week 2, students practice decoding words using advanced knowledge of syllable division patterns. Also, teachers may access more than 60 Word Sorts that cover letters, sounds, content area topics, and open sorts.
The grade 5 phonics lessons contain five days of instruction and include a “Daily Language Practice” (DLP) that provides 32 weeks of standards-based grammar and word work instruction, practice, and application that targets key skills. There are new skills introduced each week and then practiced daily, along with skills reviewed from previous instruction. The spiraling of the skills reinforces complexity both horizontally and vertically. Teachers may use the Daily Language Practice as a stand-alone resource or as fully integrated with the Literacy Curriculum Map, aligning with the current topic of study. For example, Week 7 of the Daily Language activities focuses on the prefixes in‑, im‑, il‑, ir‑, and non‑. This coincides with the lesson in Unit 2, Week 3, which has the objective of reading, spelling, and using words with prefixes accurately, as well as using them to determine the meaning of unknown words. Week 12 of the Daily Language activities focuses on the suffixes -ous and ‑ious. This coincides with the lesson in Unit 3, Week 4. This lesson entails decoding words using knowledge of suffixes, including how they can change base words such as dropping e, changing y to i, and doubling final consonants. It also encompasses spelling words using knowledge of suffixes and identifying the meaning and use of words with affixes. Week 31 of the Daily Language activities focuses on multisyllabic words, concentrating on digraphs, diphthongs, and vowel teams. This coincides with the lesson in Unit 8, Week 3. This lesson gives students opportunities to decode and spell multisyllabic words correctly using advanced knowledge of consonant changes, vowel teams, digraphs and diphthongs, syllable patterns, and multiple sound-spelling patterns.
The materials include diagnostic tools and provide opportunities to assess student mastery, in and out of context, at regular intervals for teachers to make instructional adjustments. The assessment schedule and implementation protocols for each assessment provide consistency in accurately determining student progress in foundational literacy skills, allowing for implementation of instructional support as needed.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include tools to support and direct teachers to assess students’ growth in, and mastery of, foundational skills both in and out of context. The “Foundational Literacy” component contains a variety of skills needed for readers to practice and acquire in order to accurately decode and comprehend. Teachers have access to a multitude of assessments to help determine student strengths and needs. Students have the opportunity to be assessed at routine intervals on Benchmark Books, Benchmark Passages, Retelling Rubrics, Alphabet Letter Naming, Phonological Awareness, Phonics, High-Frequency Words, and Fluency Timed Readings.
Although phonological awareness is primarily for early learners, teachers in grades 3–5 have access to “Phonological Awareness Assessments” as guides to inform instruction on listening, identifying, discriminating, and producing sounds. The materials provide single-skill assessments that give teachers targeted information about a specific skill and multi-skill assessments that evaluate multiple skills. Both are aligned with Phonological Awareness Lessons grades K-1.
Additionally, the materials provide phonics assessments, including sound/symbol relationship assessments and numbered Phonics Assessments (1-23) to determine student skills to decode words. All phonics multi-skill assessments include administration notes to ensure the validity of results. Furthermore, there are aligned assessments with skills presented in phonics lessons for grades K-2.
Teachers match lessons with students’ skills based upon their performance on the Phonics Assessments. Teachers access 16 scripted phonics lessons for grade 3. For example, Phonics Lesson 2 focuses on r-controlled and consonant-le syllable types. Students practice syllabication to decode words before blending and creating new words with these components. Students use the R-Controlled and C-le Syllable Cards and texts as resources.
The “Tutoring and Mentoring Packs” provide teachers guidance and direction regarding developmentally appropriate resources that address a student’s specific learning needs. The tools are convenient, well-organized, and educationally sound packs that supply teachers, parents, tutors, and tutor coordinators with effective reading strategies and an extensive collection of printable, research-based materials in six instructional categories: alphabet, phonological awareness, phonics, high-frequency words, fluency, and comprehension. A teacher can download, print, and assemble the resources to create ready-to-use tutor packs.
The materials provide routine self-correction lessons throughout the units with the objective of students self-correcting word recognition and understanding by using context. The purpose of these lessons is to teach self-monitoring and self-correction strategies in improving student comprehension. “Kids A-Z” materials encourage students to self-monitor and reread by rewarding them with robust incentives as they successfully complete assessments, books, and quizzes. Students may spend their earnings to personalize their robot in the Robot Builder or their Raz Rocket. Teachers may also award bonus stars after scoring assessments.
The materials also provide “Running Records” that accompany the Benchmark Passages and Benchmark Books to accurately assess students’ reading behavior fluency and comprehension. After administering the Running Record, teachers access the Assessment Report to measure students’ progress and to access a chart that provides guidelines for student placement within the materials. However, the reviewer was not able to view the online lessons for the designated areas, seemingly due to access limitations.
The materials provide opportunities for students to practice and develop oral and silent reading fluency while reading a wide variety of grade-appropriate texts at the appropriate rate with accuracy and expression to support comprehension. While the materials include explicit instruction in fluency, including phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy, they lack sufficient opportunities and routines for teachers to regularly monitor and provide corrective feedback on these skills.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide students opportunities to read grade-level texts as they make meaning and build foundational skills. The “Foundational Skills” component contains “Fluency Texts” and “Fluency Passages” complete with “Retelling Rubrics” and “Comprehension Quick Check Quizzes” that provide information about a student’s understanding and comprehension. Retellings provide details that identify strengths and weaknesses students have comprehending fiction or nonfiction texts, including analysis of text structures. The rubrics provide specific details expected from every student so that teachers can judge each retelling with the same rigor. Additionally, multiple-choice quizzes provide students with feedback when completed on how well they scored. Students choose books from the Reading Room for independent practice.
The Foundational Skills also contain “Read Aloud Texts” that provide students opportunities to hear texts read fluently for making meaning while building foundational skills. Read Aloud Texts introduce and expose students to the sounds that different letters or combinations of letters make, help teachers provide models of fluent reading, and build oral and listening comprehension skills. Alliteration with consonants or repetition of vowel sounds in each book provides opportunities for students to demonstrate listening for particular units of sound, or phonemes, in the initial, medial, and final positions of words, thus enhancing oral reading fluency. The Read Aloud section has a 5-Day Implementation guide. On Day 1, it instructs teachers to introduce the Fluency Skills by modeling fluency by reading the text or a section of the text with appropriate accuracy, rate, expression, and self-correction. On Days 2-4, it instructs teachers to model fluency by reading with appropriate accuracy, rate, expression, and self-correction. This section also provides two lessons to use for fluency that are alternated throughout the materials and can be adapted to any text/materials. For example, in Unit 2, the Accuracy, Rate, and Expression lesson is taught in Weeks 1 and 3. The Self-Correction lesson is taught in Weeks 2 and 4. This pattern is the same throughout the curriculum.
The “Literacy Curriculum Map” under “Shared Reading” resources provides guidance for teachers to have students read the text, emphasizing fluency by reading with appropriate accuracy, rate, and expression while modeling self-correction.
“High-Frequency Word Books” prepare students for reading success with three sets of high-frequency word books, which include the most commonly used sight words in printed text. Each set targets high-frequency words, including sight words of gradually decreasing frequency. Repeated use will lead to greater fluency, reading rate, and reader confidence.
Additionally, teachers may access “Reader's Theater” scripts that encourage students to read with expression and practice important fluency attributes, such as pause, inflection, and intonation. The grade 5 materials include various titles, including an “early” fictional script titled Animal in Trouble, a “middle” fiction script titled Leaving Home, and an “upper” non-fictional, multi-level script, Abraham Lincoln: From Log Cabin to White House. The lesson plans that accompany each script provide the teacher with tips for instructional support, sentence starters, comprehension strategies such as summarization techniques, and extension activities.
Furthermore, students have opportunities to enhance reading fluency by participating in silent reading during stations and independent text reading. Raz-Plus provides printable, projectable, and electronic books at 29 levels of text complexity, which gives students fluency practice with text that progressively increases in difficulty.
Materials provide fluency assessments, which are a one-minute timed reading of a passage to measure the number and accuracy of words read. Text passages are Levels F through Z, and timed readings have a series of sentences with true/false statements that additionally test comprehension. There are three of these assessments, each with more difficult sentences than the preceding one.
Teachers access the “Running Records” tools that accompany the Benchmark Passages and Benchmark Books. A teacher can assign a digital version of a Benchmark Passage or Benchmark Book (Levels aa-J) using the Assign button on the book’s thumbnail or landing page. Students record themselves reading aloud and send the recording to the “Kids A-Z In Basket,” where the teacher reviews it and provides feedback. However, the materials lack guidance for teachers regarding a schedule and routine to follow to measure fluency.
The materials include some supports for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level. Guidance provides planning and learning opportunities, including extensions and differentiation. While most extensions are framed for the general classroom population, extension and differentiation opportunities successfully support students who demonstrate literacy skills above grade level.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout the grade 5 units, students who are above grade level have varied opportunities in reading and writing to work above grade level, as teachers have access to lesson plans at the sixth-grade level that correlate with the concept or skill of study. The materials contain extension activities that are differentiated for students working above grade level. These activities are located within grade-level lesson plans embedded within each literacy area (Shared Reading, Read Aloud, Grammar and Word Work, Writing, Small Group Instruction, Stations) for each weekly lesson. These activities primarily consist of independent practice or online extensions. For example, teachers may assign students reading above grade level with a sixth-grade leveled text Death of Baldur. Students make connections between the above-grade-level text they are reading and other texts they have read (text-to-text), between the text and their own experiences (text-to-self), and/or between the text and what they know about the world around them (text-to-world).
The materials also provide opportunities for students to participate in literature circles, utilizing leveled readers on an advanced level throughout the units. A template/recording sheet is available for students to utilize in facilitating reflective discourse among peer groups. For example, a lesson in Unit 2 provides opportunities for students to discuss what character traits make one a legend. Students reflect upon the character attributes, making connections across texts as part of the reflective process.
Furthermore, the Grade 5 Implementation Guide explains that “small-group instruction time is built into the literacy block every day to allow for differentiation.” The curriculum contains leveled texts that progressively increase in difficulty to help students improve comprehension and fluency. Additionally, the leveled readers have activities that support the current skill or concept of study. For example, in Unit 3, the materials provide a lesson above grade level, reinforcing the concept comprehension with a skill focus on close read as part of the “Small Group Instruction” lesson portion. The teacher guides the students through the text Reusable Rockets, requiring them to analyze, evaluate, and think critically. The texts include varied genres, fiction, and non-fiction selections to challenge students reading above grade level. Teachers then assign books to students based upon readability and interest levels. For example, in Unit 7, Week 3, various leveled books integrate the same central question: “How have world leaders influenced the movement of people, goods, and ideas?” Saladin is available in Level X, Napoleon Bonaparte is available in Level Z, and Alexander the Great is available in Level Z2. Different leveled texts are available throughout all units. All leveled books are either the same book written at the different levels or related topics at the different levels.
Additionally, the Compare and Contrast writing lesson in Unit 4, Week 3, guides teachers through differentiation suggestions placed within the sidebar notes to help them adapt the lesson to meet the needs of each student. Furthermore, each student resource that accompanies the lesson is written at four developmental levels; these are marked with one, two, three, and four triangles to designate the level. The teacher selects a resource level on the basis of each student’s needs.
Finally, above-grade-level differentiation and extension activities for students who demonstrate advanced literacy skills are under the “Differentiation” tab on the website. For example, in Unit 5, Week 1, the teacher provides a writing lesson over cinquain poetry. The lesson plan introduces this type of poetry and provides teachers two options for an introduction, one for more experienced writers and one for less experienced writers. The writing lesson also includes an “Extend the Activity” section that guides teachers to encourage students to write another cinquain poem on a topic that is opposite of the one they have already written.
The materials provide sufficient planning and learning opportunities that include extensions and differentiation to support students who demonstrate literacy skills below grade-level.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide an “Intervention” tab for teachers to use as supplemental resources to the curriculum. Under the Intervention section, there are links to “Decodable Passage Packs,” “Tutoring and Mentoring,” “Summer School,” “High/Low Text Sets,” and “High/Low Graphic Books.” The “30 Decodable Passage Packs Program Overview” states that they are based on the Orton-Gillingham method of reading instruction. The High/Low Text Set overview states text sets are designed as a resource organized around a specific topic that is both engaging and standards-aligned. Teachers may access the seven high/low text sets to grow topic and vocabulary knowledge and 50 high/low graphic books to allow struggling students to explore nonfiction topics in a visually appealing format with accessible text. Lesson plans accompany the graphic books and provide tips on how to use the resource to differentiate for below-level students.
Additionally, throughout the grade 5 units, teachers may access High/Low resources indicated by an Ignite logo and/or lesson plans at the grade 4 level that correlate with the on-grade-level concept or skill. For example, within a small group instruction lesson in Unit 2, the teacher guides students below grade-level to work with a grade 4 leveled text, The Tiger, the Brahmin and the Jackal (no author listed), to apply a close reading strategy. Students make connections between the below-grade-level text they are reading and other texts they have read (text-to-text), between the text and their own experiences (text-to-self), and/or between the text and what they know about the world around them (text-to-world). Furthermore, the materials provide opportunities for students to participate in literature circles throughout the units utilizing leveled readers. Teachers may scaffold learning during this time by choosing primary graphic organizers designed for kindergarten through grade 2 level for students demonstrating skills below level.
In the Grade 5 Implementation Guide, the “Literacy Block Overview” explains that “small-group instruction time is built into the [daily plan]...to allow for differentiation.” Then, within the small group instruction section, the materials provide three different leveled books for teachers to use: on-level resource, below-level resource, and above-level resource. Furthermore, the materials contain assessment materials that teachers use to best determine the leveled readers most appropriate for each student in order to match books based upon readability and interest levels.
In Unit 3, the materials provide a lesson below grade level that reinforces the concept of compare and contrast as part of the shared reading instruction. The teacher guides the students through the text, requiring students to circle clue words, highlight similarities, and underline differences between two cars in the passage Electric Cars Versus Gasoline Cars (author not listed). Teachers access a simplified Venn Diagram designed for kindergarten through grade 2 level to provide added student support. The lesson plan also contains tips for teachers to help students struggling to understand the concept and skill. For example, the below-level lesson plan suggests teachers ask questions such as “How are these two things alike?” and “How are these two things different?” Additionally, it suggests teachers extend the activity for below-grade-level students by having them create their own Venn Diagram depicting similarities and differences and then writing a paragraph using the clue words identified during reading about the two vehicles.
In Unit 6, teachers have access to a retell chart, a web diagram, a web wheel, investigation planners, presentation rubrics, and research bookmarks at the primary level designed for kindergarten through second-grade students to support learners working below expected grade level.
Also, teachers access differentiation and extension activities for students who demonstrate literacy skills below grade level from the “Differentiation” tab. For example, there are summary charts in two versions, one appropriate for students working on a K-2 level and one for students working at a grade 3-6 level. Teachers choose the appropriate level of scaffolding while supporting students’ summarization of unit texts. One simplified chart is for students working below grade level, grades 2-3. It provides space for students to write the book title or topic and boxes to answer each of the questions: Who? What? When? Where? and Why? At the bottom of the chart, there are blank lines to write a complete summary. In comparison, the intermediate Summary Chart appropriate for grades 4-6 provides students with boxes to fill in four “Important Events” and provides space for a complete summary. Teachers have access to three different leveled Word Work in this tab, such as a Level W grammar activity, “Vikings,” aimed to correct capitalization errors, a Level Y activity, “The United Nations,” to identify and correct capitalization errors.
The materials include supports for English Learners (ELs) to meet grade-level learning expectations, including accommodations for linguistics commensurate with various levels of English language proficiency. Furthermore, the materials provide an EL Edition that includes scaffolds such as adapted text, translated texts, native language support, and other modes of comprehensible inputs. Although the materials include accommodations for linguistics and encourage the use of the students’ first language to enhance vocabulary development, additional components for encouraging strategic use of students’ first language as a means to linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic development in English are needed.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide an EL Edition based on instructional models, such as the SIOP model (Echeverria, Short, & Vogt, 2003), the Picture Word Inductive Model, and the recommendations in the National Literacy Panel’s 2006 report Developing Literacy in Second-Language Learners. The materials provide Language Proficiency Standards for ELPA21, WIDA, TESOL, and the Common European Framework of Reference for Language, as well as for individual state language proficiency standards for Texas. The materials have a 1-5 leveling system with a correlation chart that corresponds with the ELPS. Level 1 represents Beginning Level, Level 2 is consistent with a high beginner/low intermediate, Level 3 represents Intermediate Level, Level 4 is equivalent to Advanced, and Level 5 correlates with Advanced High.
The materials provide EL curricular supplemental supports, curricular pieces, and resources, including the following: Leveled Reader Packs, EL Content Picture Packs, EL Grammar Packs, EL Comic Conversations, EL Language Skills Packs, and EL Assessments. The Leveled Reader Packs contain preparation notes for the teacher, a multiple-day lesson plan format, practice pages, and assessments. The EL Content Picture Packs provide content and research-based materials focused on five skills (vocabulary, writing, speaking, grammar, and critical thinking) within the content areas of language arts, math, science, social studies, and basic social and instructional language. The packs’ instructional strategies and accompanying activities enable teachers to differentiate instruction for ELs of all language proficiency levels. The EL Grammar Packs are organized by part of speech, language level, and grade level, and teachers may select texts that focus on a particular skill at a specific proficiency level. The EL Comic Conversations are for beginning to intermediate ELs with language proficiency levels of 1-3, which is equivalent to ELPS Beginner and Intermediate levels. The EL Language Skill Packs “provide comprehensive resources for teachers to meet students’ needs by teaching targeted language skills while building academic content knowledge.” The packs contain multiple lessons, interactive strategies, guided instruction, direct connection to the EL Assessments, best practices for scaffolding instruction, tools for differentiating instruction, and dialogue frames at varying levels of language proficiency. The EL Assessments provide resources for teachers to monitor and track ELs’ progress in targeted academic language skills across the domains of speaking, writing, reading, and listening. They also give teachers the ability to identify students’ specific language strengths and weaknesses and to plan extensions and interventions accordingly.
Furthermore, the materials provide the following types of resources in Spanish: leveled readers, authentic Spanish books, songs and rhymes, a fiction series, math books, benchmark passages, and High-Frequency Word lists. Additionally, the materials provide the following resources in French: leveled books, alphabet books, and a fiction series. The materials provide British English leveled books, Polish leveled books, Ukrainian leveled books, and Vietnamese leveled books.
Throughout all grade 5 units, teachers access EL supports for shared reading, read-aloud, grammar, word work, and writing. For example, in Unit 1, Week 1, the materials include English Learner supports reinforcing fables. The lesson plan provides the teacher with specific areas of focus and is partially scripted, suggesting what to say and questions to ask at Level 1-2 (Beginning/“low” Intermediate ELPs) and Level 3-5 (“high” Intermediate, Advanced and Advanced High ELPs) proficiency levels and provides sentence frames, a comprehension skills resource, and a drawing conclusions supplement for ELs.
Unit 2, Week 2, provides a Vocabulary lesson specifically designed for ELs within the shared reading component. Students use dialogue frames at their proficiency level in order to ask each other questions using vocabulary picture and definition cards.
The materials state that the high-quality translated books progressively increase in difficulty to help language learners improve their native literacy skills and develop their comprehension and fluency. The lessons within the units often contain specific supports just for the Spanish language. For example, the Small Group Instruction component in Unit 4, Week 1, contains Spanish Resources such as the informational nonfiction text titled GEMAS: Tesoros de la Tierra by Molly Chen. This text is written in Spanish to complement the English version of Gems: Treasures from the Earth by Molly Chen. Both versions contain a table of contents, subheadings, bold print, a glossary, photographs, and diagrams for comprehension support.
In Unit 4, Week 2, the materials include EL supports such as a detailed two-day lesson plan complete with tips, suggestions, and partially scripted pieces about building background and establishing prior knowledge in previewing a text in the read-aloud lesson component. The grammar and word work EL supports for this week include suffixes and distinguishing literal vs. figurative language, complete with language card activities designed to scaffold the learning for ELs.
In Unit 5, Week 2, the lesson has a vocabulary lesson for ELs that requires students to use dialogue frames at their proficiency level to work in teams in giving clues about vocabulary words using vocabulary cards.
In Unit 7, Week 3, the materials include ELs supports within the writing component, such as a detailed lesson plan supporting ELs in comparing texts and writing conventions. It provides sentence frames, scripted portions for teacher support, and suggested questions for the teacher to ask at the various levels (1-5) that correlate with the ELPs Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Advanced High developmental levels.
The materials include formative and summative assessments that are aligned in purpose, intended use, and TEKS emphasis and provide sufficient guidance for teachers on how to interpret data, monitor progress, and then respond to student needs.
Evidence Includes but is not limited to:
The materials contain formative and summative assessments that are aligned to the objective(s) with an emphasis on TEKS. Although there is no evidence of a test generator or a bank of questions tied to each TEKS emphasized within each lesson, teachers can access varied ways to assess student skills to determine TEKS mastery for the grade level. For example, in Unit 1, Week 4, Day 5, the “Grammar and Word Work” component contains guidance for teachers to assess students on using spelling and explaining the meaning of homophones to understand word relationships and identify and use synonyms and antonyms and explain how they relate to other words. These objectives correlate with the grade 5 TEKS 110.7.b.3.B. The materials suggest that the teacher administer a formative assessment to students and collect the data to inform future instruction by suggesting the following options: create a quiz, or have students create a quiz to assess their progress toward the weekly skill, have students provide a brief answer to a question related to one or more grammar and word work skill before exiting the classroom (exit ticket), provide an area for students to "park" a sticky note with an answer to a question or to list an outstanding question (parking lot), have students write sentences including examples of the grammar and word work skills (writing sample) and/or have students write a brief note to a friend on a postcard describing what they have learned.
During Week 4 of each unit within the Writing component of the lesson, students respond in writing to the Unit Question, which serves as a formative or summative assessment. This is an opportunity for students to demonstrate an understanding of the content and to apply grammar, word work, vocabulary, and other relevant skills to their writing. In Unit 4, Week 4, Day 5, students discuss the learning throughout the unit, and teachers assess student learning by collecting written work samples and reviewing observational notes to inform future instruction. The objective for this unit is to write an informative/explanatory piece with a clear topic, logical progression of connected ideas, accurate vocabulary, and a concluding statement. This objective correlates to the following grade 5 TEKS: 110.7.b.7.F, 110.7.b.11.A, 110.7.b.11.B.i, 110.7.b.11.B.ii, and 110.7.b.12.B. Teachers refer to the guidance within the Unit 4 lesson plan for informative/explanatory writing that defines the developmental level expectations for each stage of the process (Graphic Organizer/Prewriting Stage, Draft, Revising and Editing to classify students as Beginning, Early Developing, Developing or Fluent). Descriptors help teachers determine how to rate the student.
In Unit 8, Week 4, as part of the Shared Reading component, students answer the weekly question “How do people impact planet Earth and beyond?” and discuss information learned from the text. The teacher records relevant information on a class chart. The materials recommend assessing students by using the Comprehension Quiz associated with the text to check student comprehension. This correlates to the following grade 5 TEKS: 110.7.b.6.E, 110.7.b.6.I, 110.7.b.7.A, 110.7.b.6.G, 110.7.b.9.B, 110.7.b.9.D.i, 110.7.b.10.A, 110.7.b.10.E, and 110.7.b.10.F.
The assessments and scoring information within the materials provide sufficient guidance for interpreting and responding to student performance. The materials include videos and webinars to help support teachers in implementing the curriculum, including assessments. Additionally, the materials guide how to score students based upon their performance and how to rate students using the scoring information. For example, teachers access information regarding reading behavior and comprehension while rewarding student progress from level to level from the “Benchmark Passages.” After the teacher uses the tools within the materials to determine individual reading levels, the teacher can use the Benchmark Passages to help determine if students are progressing in reading levels as well as the degree of progress. Teachers use “Retelling Rubrics” to gain information about students’ strengths and weaknesses in comprehending fiction or nonfiction texts, including analysis of text structures. Additionally, multiple-choice quizzes provide students with feedback when completed on how well they scored. Lastly, teachers use “Assessment Reports” for a whole-class view and student profile pages to see the individual reading rate and level progress reports. The materials also provide an assessment schedule for teachers to use when assessing students with running records. For example, it states students in the Early Fluent Readers Stage (Levels K-P) should be assessed every six to eight weeks; whereas, students in the Fluent Readers Stage (Levels Q-Z) should be assessed every 8-10 weeks.
The materials provide opportunities for teachers to assess student reading fluency with two types of assessments. The first type of fluency assessment is a one-minute timed reading of a passage to measure the number and accuracy of words read. There is a fluency passage for each level, F through Z. The second type has a student perform a timed reading of a series of sentences and then answer true/false statements about the sentences to show comprehension. There are three of these assessments, each with more difficult sentences than the preceding one. The materials also provide a Fluency Standards Table that contains information on recommended reading rates. The procedures for assessing fluency include explicit instruction on the materials needed (two copies of the assessment passage—one for the student and one for the instructor, stopwatch or clock, pencil, and clipboard). If implemented consistently and correctly, students are expected to reach the target words-per-minute standard for their grade level with an accuracy rate of 90 to 95 percent after four to six readings, according to the materials. A table shows how to calculate the fluency score.
The materials provide an overarching year-long plan for teachers to engage students in multiple groupings and other structures. However, while the yearlong plan lacks detail, the materials do provide support for teachers to identify strengths and needs of students in varied literacy skill areas. There are differentiated instruction opportunities throughout the school year to meet the needs of a range of learners to ensure grade-level success.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
While there is no overarching year-long plan for teachers to engage students in multiple groupings and other structures, the lessons do provide guidance as to the student groupings and differentiation throughout each unit. The materials include a 32-week content plan with standards that spiral; however, they do not clearly note for teachers where the standards repeat. The same lesson plan structure is used throughout the materials, utilizing a different text in each unit. However, it does not build on each unit’s content mastery/understanding. For example, author’s purpose is in Unit 1, Week 4, and Unit 4, Week 1. In Unit 1, the lesson uses a Level R nonfiction leveled text, while Unit 4, the lesson uses a Level Q nonfiction leveled text. Additionally, the materials provide resources for Small-Group instruction within the literacy block that teachers may access to group students for differentiated instruction.
The materials provide opportunities for students to participate in literature circles utilizing leveled readers on varied levels throughout the units. Primary Graphic Organizers on a grade K-2 level are available for students demonstrating skills below level. Additionally, a template/recording sheet is available for students to utilize in facilitating reflective discourse among peer groups. For example, in Unit 3, the materials provide a lesson below grade level, reinforcing the concept of compare and contrast as part of the Shared Reading Instruction lesson portion. The teacher guides the students through the text, requiring students to circle clue words, highlight similarities, and underline differences between the two cars in the passage Electric Cars Versus Gasoline Cars (no author provided). Teachers have the accompanying Venn Diagram at the grade K-2 level for added student support. Additionally, this lesson plan has a suggested extension activity for this below-grade-level lesson that has students create their own Venn Diagram depicting similarities and differences and then writing a paragraph using clue words comparing and contrasting the two vehicles.
The materials contain differentiated resources throughout all units. For example, Unit 6 contains a retell chart, a web diagram, a web wheel, investigation planners, presentation rubrics, and research bookmarks at the primary level to help support learners working below expected grade level. These resources support Shared Reading within the whole group and small group settings in reinforcing retelling, point of view, and context clues. Unit 8 has drawing connections and ask-and-answer questions graphic organizers at the primary level for those needing below-grade-level support with compare and contrast, identifying text features, and identifying genres.
Additionally, teachers assess students through digital or printed running records to attain a baseline reading level at the beginning of the school year to determine the skills and reading behaviors that need support. Teachers access lesson plans for grade 4 that correlate with the grade-level concept or skill of study for students below level. Also, teachers may assign practice activities to students to enhance their skills and assess progress throughout the school year at recommended intervals as outlined within the materials.
Furthermore, teachers may assign customized lessons to students through the digital platform. These lessons are tailored to help support areas of need such as character analysis, author’s purpose, cause and effect, classifying information, compare and contrast, fact and opinion, setting, main idea and details, inferencing, drawing conclusions, problem and solution, sequencing events, story elements, and vocabulary. Teachers also access scripted lessons for each area of focus and/or assign students specific online lessons for reteaching.
The lessons provide scripted guidance for teachers, including sidebars and tips. The materials also provide support for implementing ancillary and resource materials as well as student progress components. For example, each writing process lesson contains specific criteria for teachers to “rate” each student through each writing phase (Pre-Write, Draft, Revising, Editing, and Publication). The PBLs include text boxes throughout the lesson plan that specify what the teacher needs to write on the board as the lesson progresses. The PBLs also contain live links embedded throughout the lesson plan that connect to resources such as Peer Review Sheet, Team Project Planner, Ask and Answer Questions KWLS, Investigation Planner, Driving Question Project Outline, and Teamwork Rubric. Additionally, some of the leveled texts contain small group guided lessons containing scripted Think Alouds for teachers to model how readers think.
The teacher edition materials include annotations and support for engaging students in the materials, as well as support for implementing ancillary and resource materials and student progress components. For example, “Raz-Plus” has a comprehensive blended learning platform that includes the curricular support teachers need and the personalized resources necessary to improve students’ reading skills. Although the materials contain a wide range of ancillary and resource materials with implementation guidance for these resources, they do not always give specific guidance as to when to utilize these components. Instead, it is left to teacher discretion. Additionally, since the ancillary materials are not part of the lesson plan (in many cases), the teacher has to search outside of the primary lessons to access these supports.
The materials provide a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence outlining the essential knowledge and skills that are taught in the program, the order in which they are presented, and how knowledge and skills build and connect across grade levels. However, the materials only provide 32 weeks’ worth of literacy instruction, which does not support a 180-day or 220-day schedule. Furthermore, the materials provide additional support to help teachers implement materials as intended but lack support for administrators.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials have a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence, the “Literacy Curriculum Map Sequence & Standards,” which contains a sequence and standards for each grade level. It is broken up into eight units and 32 weeks of curriculum, which would not cover a 180 or 220-day school year. Each weekly plan lists the Reading Strategy, Vocabulary, Comprehension Skill, Speaking & Listening, Writing, Fluency, Text Structures, Text Features, and Grammar & Word Work to be taught. If one clicks on the different components, it states the TEKS that are aligned. For example, in Unit 1, Week 2, it states “Retell” as the Reading Strategy. When one clicks on “Retell,” it states the objective, “Retell key details and/or events in a text,” and states the standards by state. Additionally, the lessons for each skill or concept are consistent in grades 3-5. For example, the lesson on text features has the same objectives, purpose, discussion questions/question stems, and implementation guidance in grade 3, grade 4, and grade 5. The teacher adjusts the lesson plan to fit the current text. Furthermore, the writing lessons follow suit with the same lesson provided for informational/explanatory writing in grades 3-5. While the materials do not automatically “link back” or “link forward” to lessons that spiral nor “list” within the lesson units when the current lesson of study was previously taught or will be revisited in the future, the skills and concepts are listed in the unit scope and sequence so that teachers can view when that same skill or concept will be addressed within that unit.
The Literacy Curriculum Map provides implementation details for teachers for each section of the literacy block and includes definitions, the purpose behind each part, and strategies for teaching. Additionally, the materials provide professional development opportunities for teachers to provide information, background, and implementation support. For example, a “Getting Started” video provides teachers with the ability to view the various literacy component implementation as intended. There are live and recorded webinars available by topic so that teachers can choose based upon need. Additionally, there is a “Breakroom” that provides helpful teaching tips and inspiration. Topics include but are not limited to guest authors, book ideas, career goals, and organizational tips. Teachers may also utilize the scripted lesson plans to foster vertical and horizontal alignment in the implementation of the materials. Furthermore, there is specific guidance and protocols for teachers to access when assessing fluency so that accuracy and consistency are maintained from student to student as they move from grade level to grade level. Rubrics also provide specific criteria for teachers to use when scoring student writing development and presentation delivery.
The “Administrator Reports Overview” provides administrators guidance in the use of data. If an administrator has deep knowledge of the program, they may choose to assign live or recorded webinars as part of a teacher professional development plan, designed to provide support as needed. These can also be a part of a teacher growth plan or refinement plan in helping teachers attain professional goals. However, the materials lack specific supports to help administrators guide teachers in implementing the materials as intended.
The materials divide the curricular components into eight broad units. Each of the eight units is divided into four weeks of lessons for the following literacy areas: Shared Reading, Read Aloud, Writing, Grammar and Word Work, Small Group Instruction, and Stations. Each week spans five days, which equates to a total of 160 instructional days. Because the materials offer additional lessons and resources, such as Project-Based Learning Lessons, Close Read Lessons, Literature Circles, and Text Sets, knowledgeable teachers could use resources within the program to expand to a 180-day schedule, but a structured plan for 180 days of instruction is not included.
While there is no specific student edition or student workbook, the visual design of the student materials, which includes graphic organizers, leveled texts, worksheets, and digital components, are neither distracting nor chaotic and maintain student focus on the learning objectives. Additionally, the resources contain sufficient white space with grade-level appropriate sizing and spacing, and the graphics are colorful and engaging while also supporting the written content.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials use different colored fonts throughout to denote different parts of the materials. For example, the Scope and Sequence uses purple, black, and blue fonts. The purple font distinguishes between whole-group instruction and small-group instruction. Bolded black font is for headings (“Shared Reading,” “Read Aloud,” “Grammar & Word Work,” “Writing”) and unbolded black font for the remainder of the materials. The blue font is for hyperlinks.
Additionally, throughout the materials, the margins are wide enough for students to annotate as needed on graphic organizers and worksheets. The margins are narrow for the close read passages, thus increasing attention to the text. The leveled texts contain sections of white space between headings and the body of the text. Text features such as bold print, italics, captions, and other written components enhance the resources. Spacing and font are appropriate throughout all texts and resource supplements. For example, Unit 1, Week 2 contains the text The Gettysburg Address by Jennifer McStotts, which contains appropriate white space within the text that does not distract from student learning. Also, there is ample spacing between the paragraphs and other text features within the text (table of contents, heading, glossary). The arrangement of the text components is visually appealing to students at this developmental reading level. The pages contain margins that are wide enough for students to place small tabs or small post-it notes if needed.
In Unit 6, Weeks 1-4, the materials contain a biography writing activity that provides a graphic organizer. This resource has ample space for students to write with boxes that help contain the students’ thoughts and ideas. The boxes also help the students to be concise with their writing. The column descriptors are in bold font and easy to understand. The layout of the graphic organizer helps the students appropriately categorize information to systematically use in drafting their piece.
Additionally, the cursive handwriting practice pages and the “Daily Language Practice” student activity sheets throughout all units contain ample white space and appropriate line spacing for the developmental level of the student at their grade level. The directions for each task are in bold font, and the sample sentences are in the same font. The space where students rewrite the sentence provides ample space for students to successfully perform the task.
Also, the materials include pictures and graphics supportive of student learning and engagement. For example, the Leveled Readers include color photographs or illustrations. The printable books are in color or black and white and provide either single or double-sided printing options. In Unit 1, a leveled reader, Sergeant Stubby by David L. Dreier, photographs, maps, pictures, and captions are placed appropriately either before, after, or appropriately aligned within the text. The spacing and placement support the text and student understanding and clarify understanding of the text.
In Unit 4, students read The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Elizabeth Jane Pustilnik. The text takes the students through a tour of the museum by gallery. For each gallery, such as Egyptian Art, American Art, Arms, and Armor, the texts provide photographs of actual exhibits within that specific museum gallery. Photographs appear appropriately around and within the text to maximize student engagement with the text.
The materials include technology components that are grade-level appropriate and support learning. The supports enhance learning, and there is appropriate teacher guidance.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The technology within the materials supports and enhances student learning as appropriate and includes sufficient teacher guidance. Specifically, the materials include a “Getting Students Started in 3 Steps” section that provides teacher guidance on how to set up and use the online materials. The first step walks teachers through how to add students to their roster, create logins, send messages, and manage student activity. The second step illustrates how teachers determine student reading level. The last step guides teachers in how to communicate Kids A-Z instructions to students and parents. Additionally, the materials include teacher training via free live webinars. A catalog of Learning A-Z professional development opportunities is available, and teachers use the dropdown menus to filter by Learning A-Z product name, class type, or experience level.
The materials include a “File Cabinet,” allowing teachers to store and organize instructional resources digitally. The teacher may create custom file folders and subfolders and categorize materials by TEKS, content unit, comprehension skill, student groups, and other structures. Teachers can also share file folders with colleagues, fostering collaboration and planning opportunities.
The materials contain eBooks for students to either listen to or read in a digital platform. The listening versions contain continuous-play audio and follow along with highlighted text. The reading versions contain features that enable students to record and listen to their oral reading. The constructed response quiz questions give students the opportunity to type a short-answer response to a question, which promotes close reading and critical thinking skills while also strengthening the reading-writing connection. Answers to these questions are submitted to the teacher’s “In-Basket” for grading using an online rubric. The materials also provide online tools for note-taking, drawing, highlighting, and stamping so students can annotate as they read. According to the materials, these tools “support active reading practices for better comprehension.” The supports also contain “Individual Word Audio” playback that reads individual words aloud to students to support phonics and fluency development. The eJournal gives students a place to explore new words and practice their vocabulary through writing. Vocabulary Cards provide additional information and context about key vocabulary words in a text. The teacher can connect classroom instruction with students’ use of online resources by monitoring “Activity Reports” that show student progress. The materials recommend that the teacher review student scores on assessments to identify gaps in understanding and target content or skills that need to be retaught.
The technology components are available by grade level, and some portions are customizable for student needs. For example, the materials include online space-themed components available through both KidsA-Z.com subscriptions and a Kids A-Z mobile app. Furthermore, within the online component and app, the materials contain multiple components, including the following: “Level Up!,” “My Assignment,” “Reading Room,” “Flight Check,” “Messages,” “Star Zone,” “Stats,” and “Badges.” Specifically, Level Up! contains a collection of books that students can read and complete to automatically advance to the next reading level. Students automatically level up once they listen to/read all the books and pass the comprehension quiz with a score of 80% or higher. Also, teachers can assign students’ reading levels and customize the listening version anytime within the Classroom Roster. The My Assignment component is where students go to complete activities that teachers have digitally assigned to them. The Reading Room allows students to access reading resources for reading practice and enjoyment. Students find level-appropriate books by topic, category, and popularity and can save their favorite books for easy access anytime. Teachers can also customize students’ Reading Room experience in the “Roster” under the Raz-Plus tab. Lastly, in Flight Check, students find digital Running Records using the Benchmark Passages or Books. Teachers assign this to students; when students complete the tasks, teachers can digitally access the data regarding a student’s reading level, ability to name letters, and ability to recognize high-frequency words.
The materials also contain components to enhance communication with students and parents, including the “Messages” component, where students can view messages from the teacher or their parents. Students also receive notifications regarding earned badges and bonus stars through Messages.
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