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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 Supports
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
The materials provide a wide range of texts with multiple perspectives. The texts include a wide range of student interests.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Topics range across many areas of interest to grade 5 students, such as drawing, nature, survival, invention, teamwork, and making a difference in the world. At least half of the included texts have been collected from published books, many of which are award-winning and written by well-known authors of diverse backgrounds such as Alma Flor Ada, Paul Fleischman, Pat Mora, Christopher Paul Curtis, and Grace Lin. Leveled readers add to the variety of topics, creating rich and diverse content for students to read throughout the year.
In Units 1 and 2, stories are written by expert authors in various disciplines. One author, for instance, is Alma Flor Ada, who has written more than 200 books. She has won awards for her books, such as the Ohtli Award for services to the Mexican community abroad by the Mexican government (2014) and the Outstanding Cultural Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (2012). Some of her books have been translated into over a dozen different languages. In the story Blancaflor, the author uses descriptive language to help students picture the author’s words, such as “The young prince had been sitting under the tree for a while, lost in thought, when he was surprised by a deep voice that seemed to come from the branches of the oak tree.”
In Unit 3, students read Weslandia, a fantasy trade book by Paul Fleischman, about a boy named Wesley who creates his own civilization. Fifth graders are likely to relate to many themes explored by the book, such as bullying, feeling left out, learning to have fun by yourself, and creating your own world with what you know.
Students read the biography Rosa by well-known poet, author, and professor Nikki Giovanni, in Unit 4. Rather than just a recount of the familiar facts of Rosa Parks’ famous bus ride, Giovanni provides more background to Rosa’s story, allowing students to get a more personal perspective on Rosa before the historical events happened. Giovanni also puts Rosa’s actions in historical context by referencing Brown vs. the Board of Education and providing a rationale leading up to Rosa’s choice not to leave her seat on the bus. Giovanni provides more historical context as well, describing the reaction of the Women’s Political Council, the relationship to Emmett Till’s death, and the effect on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Unit 6, Week 1 introduces the genre of Historical Fiction. The read-aloud title is “Hope for the Troops.” This text shows people from World War II with depictions of soldiers. The Shared Read for that week is from the Social Studies discipline. “Shipped Out” is the title of the book.
The materials include texts that cover all grade-level specified TEKS and include increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse literary texts. Literary text includes folktales, fables, fairy tales, legends, and myths, poetry, and drama. Informational text includes a variety of text features and text structures. Argumentative texts contain claims; students identify the audience and distinguish fact from opinion. Digital and multimodal texts provided in the digital student edition and Build Knowledge videos include visuals, video, and audio.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Examples of literary texts include but are not limited to:
Examples of informational texts include but are not limited to:
Examples of print and graphical features include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, Getting from Here to There by Time for Kids, the author uses charts and graphs to show the advancement of transportation over the years. Students read a pie chart that shows the usage of various forms of transportation. Furthermore, the text shows a bar graph comparing fuel economy in hybrid cars versus gas-powered vehicles.
In Unit 2, “Stage Fright” by Lee Bennett Hopkins has illustrations that depict the poem to help the reader understand the text. The text is spaced, italicized, and indented to emphasize the text’s point.
In Unit 5, a shared reading Changing Views of the Earth (no author listed) has illustrated views of the earth and real-life pictures of scientists from the past. In Week 2, When a Planet Is not a Planet: The Story of Pluto by Elaine Scott has a diagram comparing the earth’s crust to the Earth’s mantle. There are captions and a real picture of the Hubble’s telescope view of Pluto.
In Unit 6, “Mysterious Oceans” (no author listed) includes maps to locate places found in the ocean, like the deepest part of the ocean. Also, the text includes pictures of underwater sea life to demonstrate how living things survive underwater.
The materials provide a Text Complexity Tool Analysis for Interactive Read-Alouds, Shared Reads, and Anchor Texts. This document assigns a grade level to the passages and breaks down the genre. It also provides qualitative and quantitative information as well as reader and task considerations for each text.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Analyzed texts in grade 5 range from 690L to 990L, with most falling in the 800‒930 range. This range of Lexiles falls mostly in the proficient range for grade 5, with some titles below and above this range. Most titles contain meaning, purpose, structure, language, and knowledge demands that are “Slightly Complex” to “Moderately Complex." Some texts with “Exceedingly Complex” features are included, mostly toward the end of the year, which reflects an increase in rigor over time. While references to research and evidence-based best practices are not directly linked in the analysis tool, many research white papers related to text complexity issues are included.
In Unit 3, the title Teamwork in Space is a text at 930L with Slightly Complex and Moderately Complex quantitative features. The expository text’s purpose, showing that people who work together as a team can make a significant achievement, is Slightly Complex and can be identified in the first paragraph: “Space exploration had become one of the greatest examples of international teamwork in history!” The Slightly Complex structure follows a chronological sequence and incorporates sequence words, “In the mid-1950s, from the beginning, in 1975…” Vocabulary is Moderately Complex due to academic and domain-specific language such as engineers, computer programmers, maintenance workers, astronauts, launch, spacecraft, expeditions. Reader and task information states teachers may need to support students with questioning that directs them to context clues to figure out the vocabulary used. Teachers may also need to provide information about the Soviet Union and content knowledge about space travel.
In Unit 4, the title Fighting for Change contains a Slightly Complex meaning and purpose (it is a biography of Susan B. Anthony). The piece is in chronological order, and the author names specific dates so that readers understand how long it took Susan B. Anthony to achieve suffrage. Vocabulary is Moderately Complex, with academic and domain-specific words such as excluded, barred, disenfranchised, exert, influence, appealed, and convention. Many sentences include complex dependent clauses such as “Not only did slavery still exist in the United States, but women of all races lacked rights.” Reader and task information that teachers can use include the considerations that students may need support in understanding multiple-meaning words, using context clues and historical knowledge of Susan B. Anthony’s life and work.
In Unit 6, there is an Interactive Read-Aloud titled Hope for the Troops, a historical fiction piece with a Lexile level of 850L (grade level 6). The meaning and purpose of this piece are listed as “Somewhat Complex.” The purpose of this historical fiction text is that the army and the USO entertainment can both contribute to the same cause isn’t explicitly stated, but students will be able to identify it. The text structure is Moderately Complex, since the events are in chronological order; however, it should be noted that the author includes the use of flashback; “Homesick Stuart reminisces about a time when he was in a comfortable and happy setting: his home in North Dakota.” The author employs complex sentence constructions with dependent clauses, split dialogue, sentence fragments, and clauses with dashes such as “He’s doing a USO show here—you know, the United Service Organizations.” Language is Moderately Complex. The vocabulary in the text is set during World War II, so military terms are used throughout: army, radio operations assistant, island outpost, USO, base, radio transmission, airstrip, officers, enlisted personnel, aircraft. The author includes dialect and idiomatic expressions associated with the historical period: pitched in, cracked jokes, back slaps, took the stage, folks. Figurative language is also used: “the base buzzed.” Knowledge demands are Moderately Complex. The central idea of this historical fiction text is not as straightforward. In addition, the title of this piece, Hope for the Troops, has a double meaning: one, raising morale and giving optimism for the troops, and two, Bob Hope being part of the USO visit. Reader considerations include students will need some background knowledge to understand this text.
The materials include questions and tasks that students complete to make connections to other texts, themselves, and other disciplines. Students support their answers and ideas with support from their reading. The questions and tasks build conceptual knowledge and require text-specific references and integrate multiple TEKS.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The questions and tasks provide students with the opportunity to identify and connect big ideas. For example, in nonfiction text lessons, students identify main ideas to expand conceptual knowledge in individual texts and across texts. In fiction text lessons, students identify themes within the individual text and from text to text. Students engage in listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking by discussing and completing graphic organizers. Questions and tasks also ask students to look at references in the text.
The materials in Unit 1 include a paired selection: “A Walk With Teddy” and “A Man of Action.” In this unit, students make connections across two texts. Students make connections by exploring the essential question, “How do the photographer and the authors of Camping with the President and a “Walk with Teddy” help you experience nature and change the way you think about it?” In addition, students study the photograph of an eagle and discuss how it makes them feel and why they feel that way. Students answer the question in a short-answer response form using text evidence determined in the student discussion. Also in Unit 1: “A Fresh Idea,” students make inferences and use evidence to support understanding and evaluate details read to determine key ideas (5.6F, 5.6G). On each page of the text, students encounter sidebars with the title “Find Text Evidence” beside the icon of a magnifying glass, which requires rereading the text. For instance, the text explains how the character Mali is happy in paragraph 1 and becomes upset in paragraph 3. Under the “Ask and Answer” portion, students complete the task of drawing a box around the text evidence that causes Mali’s mood to change. In order to understand Mali’s problem, the students fill out a chart with the plot elements of characters, setting, beginning, middle, end. In the end, during the “Respond to Reading” section, students write a short-answer response to the following question, “How does the author show how the characters help each other to solve their problems?”
In Unit 3, a Shared Read lesson, teachers use the informational text, Gulf Spill Superheroes. The lesson covers multiple TEKS, most of which are text-dependent and target complex elements of the text. Students recognize structures of informational text, including the central idea, connect grade-level appropriate science concepts with the history of science, science careers, and contributions of scientists. Students predict the effects of changes in ecosystems caused by living organisms, including humans. Before reading the text, teachers have students look at the photo of people dressed in oil spill cleanup gear on a beach in the Gulf of Mexico; students discuss why the people are working as a group. Students annotate their copy of the text in the left column with interesting words and key details. Teachers stop at various points to model and have students answer text-dependent questions during the initial read. Students answer questions such as “What is the main idea of the first paragraph? What details give more information about the main idea?” Teachers have students use the main idea and key details to predict what the text will be about. Students use space in their Student Editions of the text to focus on specific aspects of the texts and questions. They work through tasks and questions as they continue reading, including but not limited to answering the question “How does knowing (the root word) viv means “to live” help you understand what survivors means?” Students use the word survivors in a sentence. Students answer questions about the main idea and details such as: “How long did it take for the damaged well to be plugged up? Remind students that asking and answering questions helps them understand key details.” Teachers monitor students' understanding of the central or main idea, drawing attention to the heading “Responders in the Water.” Teachers ask, “How can you use the heading to determine the main idea of the section? What are the key details? What is the main idea?” Students further analyze the problem and solution structure of the text and complete quick writes. Students pair up to identify subheadings and discuss how they might be able to use them to structure a summary. Partners write a summary in their Writer’s Notebooks, only including the most important ideas and details about the main problem and how it was solved.
In the Small Group Differentiated Instruction On Level lesson for Unit 3, students read the text Building a Green Town that connects to the larger theme in the main selection and the essential question “What benefits come from people working as a group?” It also deals with how people handle a different type of natural disaster (a tornado hitting a town in Kansas). Students continue to answer text-dependent questions such as “Reread the last two paragraphs on page 1. Do you think ‘What Does It Mean to Be Green?’ is a good heading for this section? Explain your answer…” as well as questions that require making connections to other texts they have read, such as “How do you know this is an expository text?”
The materials provide opportunities for students to make inferences and draw conclusions about the author’s purpose in cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and to provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. Questions and tasks require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Students develop deep understanding of text and show understanding by participating in discussions, the whole class, and partnerships. Professional development assists teachers with effective planning of in-depth studies of characters, the author’s purpose and craft, and themes in complex texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials require students to consistently analyze the literary and textual elements of text through the unit study of a genre in the “Anthology” texts and the “Shared Reading” text lessons. Throughout the materials, tasks require students to analyze, make inferences, and draw conclusions about the author’s purpose in cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. Students also compare and contrast the stated or implied purposes of different authors’ writing on the same topic. Students analyze the author’s choices and how they influence and communicate meaning (in a single text and across a variety of texts). They also study the language within texts to support their understanding. Students then apply that knowledge by engaging in independent writing experiences. Students analyze the author’s choice of setting as well as types of conflict. By examining the author’s purpose and author’s choices, students increase their comprehension of the text. The author’s language choices are examined in the “Spotlight on Language” sections.
In Unit 1, students read two texts: Time for Kids, “The Future of Transportation,” and “From Here to There.” They explore “Author’s Craft: Text Features.” For “The Future of Transportation,” students reread the pie chart and graphs included in the text and determine how they support the author’s position. The teacher emphasizes that data shows the improvement of transportation. After students reread and summarize the text, the teacher instructs them to annotate and answer questions in the “Reading/Writing Companion.” Students think about how the authors present their views on transportation technology. At the end, students “Respond to Reading” by participating in analytical writing: “Have students identify each author’s claim and explain how the claim is supported, pointing out at least two pieces of evidence and/or a text feature as an example. Students should then explain how reading the two authors’ arguments helps them understand the credibility of a persuasive argument.”
In Unit 3, in a “Whole Group” lesson, students read the realistic fiction text They Don’t Mean It! from the “Literature Anthology.” A sidebar in the lesson outlines complex elements of the text (prior knowledge, purpose, the connection of ideas, specific vocabulary). Students read, reread, and then integrate knowledge and ideas using the “Close Reading Routine.” Teachers do a model reading of the play, divide students up, assign parts, and have students practice and reread. Students engage with text-dependent tasks and questions such as “Find text evidence that tells you about the characters’ traits.” “How does the audience know when the action returns to 1941?” “Which characters are present in both time periods?” “How are they referred to in the play?” “How did the shifts back and forth in time enhance, or add to, the play?” During their first reading, students make inferences about characters; for instance, they explain why Mary is humble and provide actions from the text that support their ideas. During the rereading portion, students describe the author’s craft and purpose via word choice and dialogue. The teachers question students more deeply at different points in the text; students examine elements of the text more closely. As they examine the author’s purpose, teachers question students and have them support their responses: “How does the author show that Mary's mother does not feel like she’s being true to her culture? Cite text evidence in your answer.” To learn more about word choice, students answer questions such as the following: “Re-read the first sentence on page 187. Why is devoured a better word than ate? Re-read pages 188 through 189. Why does the author use the phrase as little gasp and stared wide-eyed? Later, on page 189, the author describes both Mary and Kim as thoughtful. Why does the author use this word?” Questions and tasks such as “Re-read page 191. How does the author use realistic elements on this page to drive the plot forward?” require students to infer from their knowledge of people and their actions and to combine this with what they know about characters from the story. The teacher reminds students to refer back to particular pages to reinforce the text’s connection to students’ answers.
In Unit 6, students analyze the author’s craft through a Shared Reading of Shipped Out. Students think about the “Essential Question” and what they know about contributing to causes. Students use the left column to write a prediction about the narrator after they preview the text and genre characteristics, listing any interesting words and key details they discover as they read. In the “Spotlight on Idioms” section, the teacher confirms the students’ understanding of the idiom shipped out by asking, “Which word or phrase in the sentence can help you understand the meaning of shipped out?” The teacher explains that when someone ships out, he or she leaves on a journey. The teacher tells students that the idiom is normally used to describe members of the military who leave to go to war. Students answer the question “Why do you think Libby’s dad has shipped out?”
The materials provide a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary in and across texts. Students learn specific Tier 2, high-value words that they apply across texts and content areas. Teachers instruct students in research-supported vocabulary strategies, such as using Greek and Latin roots or context clues to determine the meaning of unknown words. There are weekly visual supports and multimedia practice opportunities. Students apply words in isolation and in context and use new vocabulary in writing tasks. Scaffolds and supports enable teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for all learners. There is a professional development and research rationale.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Teachers read and apply the whitepaper “Academic Vocabulary Study: Embedded, Deep,
and Generative Practices” by Dr. Donald R. Bear, which identifies five principles of vocabulary instruction: 1) it is intertwined with concept development, 2) it is taught in context, 3) it is learned in relation to text and not just via isolated words, 4) it is “deep and generative” in that when students learn new words, they also connect to many related words, and 5) it involves the study of morphology (word structure). Teachers use descriptions of activities such as sorts, set up directions for vocabulary notebooks, and reference further websites and sources.
In the “Placement and Diagnostic Assessment” part of the materials, there is a K–6 vocabulary assessment, “Critchlow Verbal Language Scales.” Students say the opposite of a word given by the teacher from a list of 75 words arranged in order of difficulty. Cut scores are identified from kindergarten to grade 6, so teachers can determine whether students are working below, at, or above grade level.
For example, there is vocabulary development and support in a “Small Group Differentiated Instruction” lesson (“Beyond”). The teachers use the “Visual Vocabulary Cards” to review the meaning of the words reconstruct, remnants, connection, and research on the board. Teachers discuss the word meanings with students and then help students write sentences using these words. Students work in pairs to review the meanings of the words sophisticated and intricate. Partners write sentences using these words. Teachers assess students independently using the online vocabulary practice activities.
The materials include a year-long plan for building academic vocabulary, including ways to apply words in context. Weekly plans consistently include vocabulary lessons for the core lesson from the “Literature Anthology” and for each level of small group differentiated instruction (“Approaching,” “On,” and “Beyond Level”). Across units, the teachers teach academic vocabulary in context in the “Reading/Writing Companion,” in the sections “Talk About It,” “Introduce the Genre,” “Shared Read,” “Vocabulary Words in Context,” “Vocabulary (Word Parts),” “Grammar,” and “Share What You Learned.”
In Unit 3, the Literature Anthology text is “What Was the Purpose of the Inca’s Knotted Strings?” (from Time for Kids). Academic vocabulary words are highlighted and bolded within the text (preserved, intact, historian, era, fragments, reconstruct). Teachers think aloud about a strategy for finding context clues in paragraph 3: “Which words help you determine the meaning of statistics? Think Aloud: The word including right before statistics tells me that the statistics are part of a larger group. I reread and discovered that they were part of the data that Inca officials might have recorded and kept track of. So statistics are data or numbers that people study. When I read on, I learned that the statistics represented numbers of crops and people.” Students discuss how the Quipu might have helped keep track of statistical data. As students use context clues to find the meaning of unfamiliar words, they can develop their knowledge of the specific words related to this text as well as transfer this ability and use context clues to find meaning in other texts they read. Students review the words from the selection “What Was the Purpose of the Inca’s Knotted Strings?” and apply their knowledge of the specific words to answer questions such as “What kind of tasks does an archaeologist do? How are fragments different from parts? What would you do to reconstruct a broken vase? Are remnants usually big or small?” Words for study both relate to the specific text of the week and are high-value, Tier 2 vocabulary words that students will encounter across multiple texts and content areas. Teachers scaffold and support vocabulary development by displaying selection vocabulary such as calculator, colonies, and settlement. The teacher defines the words and discusses their meanings with students. Teachers write calculate under calculator; student partners write other words with the same root and define them. Partners then ask and answer questions using the words and repeat with colonies and settlement.
In Unit 5, in the Vocabulary Words in Context section of the Reading/Writing Companion, the teacher uses the routine on the “Visual Vocabulary Cards” to introduce words. The routine is “Teacher Talk” followed by “Partner Time.” During Teacher Talk, the teacher defines the word, provides an example, and asks students for other words that mean the same thing. During Partner Time, partners discuss and illustrate the word.
In Unit 5 and Unit 6, Weeks 1, 3, and 5 in the Reading/Writing Companion all have a Talk About It section with an “Essential Question” lesson. Students study vocabulary related to the Essential Question. Partners work together, generating examples and completing a graphic organizer.
The materials provide procedures and routines to support teachers and students in independent reading. Independent reading happens daily for an appropriate amount of time. Along with the various resources, the materials provide suggestions to maximize student choice and engagement. Students are held accountable for independent reading via teacher conferences, reader response forms, writing journals, products, and activities.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Instructional Routines Handbook provides teachers with an Independent Reading Routine:
“1. Students select a book that interests them, using the Five Finger Rule or Additional Strategies to determine if it is appropriate for them.
2. Students read the book each day during Independent Reading time.
3. Students annotate their reading using Thinking Codes or their writer’s notebooks.
4. Students record what they’ve read at the end of each Independent Reading session on their Reading Logs or in some other way using Additional Strategies if needed.
5. Students share their opinion of the book by telling a friend, writing a review, or making a poster or some other product.
6. Students begin the process again with a new book.”
The materials articulate foundational practices for independent reading that align with research, which is cited. Students “read texts on their independent reading level, read more complex selections about topics that interest them or reread familiar texts or previously scaffolded texts.” Students choose from many resources, including but not limited to independent reading selections in the Literature Anthology, differentiated Genre Passages, Classroom Library trade books, and Leveled Readers.
The materials define what classroom practices should look like: “During independent reading time, you should see your students previewing books to decide which one to read. They might be reading titles, talking quietly with a partner, or flipping through a book to help them choose. Students should be reading quietly. They might also be participating in collaborative conversations, book talks, or literary circles; responding to what they read, or looking for another book.”
The Instructional Routines Handbook provides teachers with grade-level specific daily time allowances for independent reading and accountability practices. Students in grades 3‒6 read for 30‒40 minutes daily. Students record what they read via a Reading Log or additional strategies such as Reader Response forms, sharing in literature circles, or conferencing with peers. Teachers confer with students using the Teacher-Student Conference Routine. Students create products and give Book Talks using the Book Talks routine to show accountability. Additional strategies help teachers encourage and differentiate for all readers, such as classroom libraries, individual book boxes, and collaboration with the school librarian on topics of interest.
The materials develop students’ composition skills across various genres. Students have multiple opportunities to write informational texts, literary texts, as well as argumentative texts. Opportunities to address multiple audiences and to practice correspondence writing are also available. Resources are in both printable and digital form, and writing resources span the entire year of instruction, helping to build students’ stamina and skills.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include a Writer’s Notebook section with teacher and student resources that are both in print (hard copy) and digital form. The materials cover the entire year of instruction (Units 1‒6) and cover multiple text types. Each Unit focuses on 1‒2 different writing styles and provides instruction, resources, and teacher support materials for each part of the writing process. In Unit 1, students write personal narratives and persuasive essays. In Unit 2, students write expository essays and poetry. In Unit 3, students write expository essays and feature articles. In Unit 4, students write realistic fiction stories and narrative poems. In Unit 5, students write biographies and opinion essays. In Unit 6, students write research reports and narrative poems. Writing exercises are unit-specific and address genres and texts that students are currently reading. The writing genres are aligned to the TEKS, and the genres build from more personal and concrete to more research-based and abstract writing tasks over the year of instruction.
In Unit 1, Week 1, students begin writing a personal narrative. Teachers create an anchor chart listing the features of personal narrative writing (first-person point of view, shares writer’s thoughts and feelings, uses a logical sequence, includes descriptive details, etc.). Teachers guide students to analyze the model text “A Walk With Teddy” from the literature anthology for the author’s use of sequence and descriptive details and language. Students give examples of words and phrases the author uses to show the sequence of events. In Unit 1, Week 2, students choose an experience or event from their freewriting and draft a personal narrative about it. Teachers explain that the topic should be a memorable experience that taught students a lesson about life. Students consider their purpose and audience and include language that reflects these considerations in their drafts. Students preview and use the genre-specific rubric before writing. In Unit 1, Week 3, students confer with peers as they revise their personal narrative drafts. Students use a peer conferencing routine which includes listening carefully to the writer reading their work aloud, telling one thing they liked, asking questions to help the writer think critically, and giving feedback to help make the writing stronger. Teachers circulate and observe as partners work. Students use revising and editing checklists to continue to polish their writing for publication.
In Unit 3, Week 1, students identify the elements of realistic fiction. In Week 2, students generate ideas of settings, at least one type of character, and a main problem about an interesting discovery. Students have an opportunity to think about their purpose and their audience and plan their realistic fiction essay. Students develop their characters using a structured set of questions and vivid details. Students write their draft with the first major event in the sequence and tell what happens, including details about the event and the characters. Students write their draft using sequential order with their events. In Week 3, students revise their drafts for mood and word choice. In Week 4, students edit, proofread, publish, present, and evaluate their realistic fiction essays.
In Unit 3, Week 6, students write persuasive articles. Teachers analyze an expert model, “A Reasonable Retreat,” from the anthology to convey to students how the author expresses her claim and supports it. Students work with partners to brainstorm a list of ancient sites that have left people with unanswered questions, such as the pyramids in Egypt. Students choose one ancient site from the list, read more about it, and write a persuasive article that includes differing points of view. Students convince readers that one argument is stronger than the other. Students conduct research to include specific facts and details, draft, revise for precise language, peer conference with their writing, and publish.
In Unit 5, Genre Study 1, students use digital tools to write a research report, taking their writing through all stages of the writing process. To plan their reports, students complete a “main idea and details” graphic organizer. Students click on resources such as the video “How to Create an Outline” if they need to review. Students also access a rubric with criteria specific to research reports. Students copy and paste their work from the previous class sessions onto a new tab as they move through the stages of the writing process. They also revise their work using a Revising Checklist and work with other students in peer conferences. Students use an Editing Checklist to prepare their work for final publication.
In Unit 6, Week 5, students write emails requesting information, as specified in the TEKS. Teachers discuss with students the reasons for using email and point out the parts of an email, including the “To:” and “Subject:” lines, the body of the message, and closing. Teachers model how to complete the header of an email message, how to type the body of an email and ensure their request is clear, respectful, and free of grammatical errors. Students identify a government official to whom they can write to request information. They work with partners to research an important issue, think about what they want to request, plan the message, and draft it over the following two weeks.
The materials include writing tasks requiring students to use details from texts to support answers given. Students analyze and synthesize their own ideas as well as those from mentor texts they read. Students must provide text support for both process writing and shorter-term writing tasks such as constructed response questions. Tasks are scaffolded as the instructional year progresses and grows in complexity over time.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, Week 1, after reading the story, A Life in the Woods, students use the “Respond to Reading” to answer the question, “How does the author help you understand the effect nature had on Thoreau?” Students must write the central idea and provide details from the text. In Week 2, after reading, Camping with the President, students analyze the text and respond to the questions “What words and phrases help you create mental images about what President Roosevelt sees and hears?” and “How does the author help you see how Roosevelt feels about the Sequoia trees being cut down?” Students complete a chart using cited text evidence.
In Unit 1, Week 5, students have the opportunity to use evidence from texts to support their opinions and claims in a Respond to Reading activity. Students read, Are Electronic Devices Good For Us? Students write to the prompt, “Which author do you think has the more convincing argument?” Students must cite evidence in their writing to support their answers.
In Unit 2, Week 4, students read the story Blancaflor and write a response to the prompt “How does the tone and mood change from the beginning of the folktale to the end?” Teachers ask questions to focus students’ attention on the text, such as, “How is the prince feeling, and why does he feel this way? How do you think he feels? How does Blancaflor help the prince? How do her actions affect the story’s tone?” Teachers encourage students to look for more examples of language and actions that convey a mood and tone as they draft responses. Students include specific examples from the story of descriptive and figurative language, including personification, as they defend their claims.
In Unit 3, Week 1, students read the story, They Don’t Mean It!, and analyze the text by answering the question, “How does the author show that Mary’s mother does not feel like she is being true to her culture?” Students answer the question and complete a chart citing evidence. In Week 5, students read Machu Picchu: Ancient City and answer the questions, “How does the author organize the information to help you understand his or her point of view?” and “How does the author use literal language to help you visualize the Temple of the Sun?” Students complete each chart that supports the question by providing text evidence.
In Unit 4, Week 4, students read, A Window Into History: The Mystery of the Cellar Window and respond to the prompt, “How does the author use his interviews to help you understand the events of the play?” Teachers remind students that analyzing a character’s point of view in a drama requires readers to pay attention to each character’s dialogue and to the stage directions. Teachers ask questions such as “What details does Daniel Cruz use in his report about the old house? How does the author show that the characters are inquisitive?” Teachers encourage students to look for more text evidence involving Daniel’s role in conveying the play’s events after the children explored the cellar. Students draft a short response in their Reading/Writing Companion books, using sentence starters to guide their responses. Teachers remind students to refer back to Daniel’s interviews and explain how this information helps them better understand the events of the play.
In Unit 5, after reading When is a Planet Not a Planet in Week 1, students respond to the questions, “What information does the author want you to know about planets?” and “How does including the diagram support the ideas the author is developing?” Students use evidence from the text to support their answers. In Week 4, students analyze the story, Musical Instruments of the Great Depression. Students respond to the question, “Why is ‘On the Up-Swing’ a good heading for this section?” Students provide text evidence to support their answers.
In Unit 5, Week 5, Respond to Reading, after reading Should Plants and Animals from Other Places Live Here?, students write to the prompt, “Did you find the one author’s argument more convincing than the other?” They state their claim and use text evidence.
In Unit 6, Week 3, students consider the essential question, “How are living things adapted to their environment?” Teachers focus students on the characteristics of expository text. The texts in this unit focus on animals and how they survive in their environments. Teachers display a photograph of the thorny devil lizard and focus students’ attention on the traits it has developed to live in its environment. Students discuss with partners the questions, “What adaptations protect the thorny devils from predators? How do these adaptations help them survive?” Students complete a graphic organizer referencing information from the text and generating additional related words and phrases.
The materials facilitate students’ coherent use of the elements of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text. There are opportunities for students to practice and apply conventions of academic language when speaking, listening, writing, and reading. Grammar and usage are taught systematically, both in and out of context.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, Week 3, students confer with peers as they revise their personal narrative drafts. Students use a peer conferencing routine: listen carefully to the writer reading their work aloud, tell one thing they liked, ask questions to help the writer think critically, and give feedback to help make the writing stronger. Teachers circulate and observe as partners work. Students use revising and editing checklists to continue to polish their writing for publication.
In Unit 1, Week 1, students identify the elements of a personal narrative. In Week 2, students generate ideas and select a topic about a memorable event that taught them a lesson. Students plan and organize their personal narratives. Students write their draft using vivid descriptions, transition words, and write in cursive. In Week 3, students revise their personal narratives using a structured set of questions. In Week 4, students edit, proofread, publish, present, and evaluate their personal narratives. In Week 5, students identify the elements of an opinion essay. Students generate ideas, plan for whether they think social media helps or harms teens. Students plan for a strong opening paragraph. Students write a draft expressing their opinion, whether they believe social media helps or harms teens. In Week 6, students revise using a set of structured questions, and students edit, proofread, publish, present, and evaluate their opinion essay.
In Unit 3, students work on various grammar skills: action verbs, verb tense, main and helping verbs, linking verbs, and irregular verbs. Practice pages and an online option to practice the skill are available. There are “Talk About It” activities for small group instruction to support and scaffold learning. In Week 1, in the Talk About It, students get into small groups, write three action verbs on three index cards, and place them in a pile. Students take turns selecting an index card and drawing a picture that represents the verb. The rest of the group guesses the verb. In Week 3, Talk About It, the teacher displays a list of action verbs. Partners ask and answer questions using have and the past participle of one of the verbs such as “Have you played soccer? No, I have not played soccer.”
In Unit 5, Genre Study 1, students use digital tools to write a research report, taking their writing through all stages of the writing process. To plan their reports, students complete a main idea and details graphic organizer. Students click on resources such as the video “How to Create an Outline” if they need to review. Students also access a rubric with criteria specific to research reports. Students copy and paste their work from the previous class sessions onto a new tab as they move through the writing process stages. They revise their work using a Revising Checklist and work with other students in peer conferences. Students use an Editing Checklist to prepare their work for final publication.
In Unit 5, Week 5, “Respond to Reading,” after reading “Should Plants and Animals from Other Places Live Here?” students write to the prompt, “Did you find the one author’s argument more convincing than the other?” While writing, Grammar Connections reminds them that they can use comparative forms to talk about the two different argument
The materials provide a year-long systematic and explicit program for students to practice cursive handwriting. Teacher guidance includes objectives, lesson activities, and assessments with specific questions to help students evaluate their own handwriting.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Handwriting Workbook and Teacher’s Edition are available for all grades 3‒6 students and teachers, respectively. The Handwriting Workbook provides a comprehensive program for students to learn cursive. The Handwriting Workbook contains 70 lessons. There are six units in The Handwriting Workbook and Teacher’s Edition and provide ample practice for the school year. Students start in Unit 1 with a review of print by writing upper and lower case letters. Students categorize letters by shape and review rules for spacing, punctuation, and writing numerals and sentences. Students practice correct writing position according to their dominant hand and complete lessons transitioning and comparing manuscript and cursive letters. Students then move into Units 2 & 3, which are arranged systematically, and teach students to write letters and words in cursive. The teacher teaches letters in order of difficulty. The materials group letters together with other letters made using similar strokes (such as strokes that curve up — letters i, t, e, and l, strokes that curve down — letters o, a, c, and d). Students write letters and words that contain the current letter learned; they also write letters and words using letters from previous lessons. In Unit 4, the students progress to writing sentences in cursive. In Units 5‒6, students write symbols, the names of people and states, and short stories in cursive. Each unit builds on the students’ cursive handwriting skills and reinforces skills through practice. Each unit culminates in an assessment.
There are various components of the lesson cycle in the Teacher’s Edition. Also in the materials is “Taking Tests,” which has the “Objectives,” “Materials,” and “Getting Started.” This section provides teachers with information on what they need to do. In “Using the Page,” there are directions on how to use the workbook page. In “Extension,” students get additional practice on the tested skill. In “Evaluate,” teachers have questions to help children evaluate their writing: “Do your words sit on the bottom line?”, “Are your letters the correct size and shape?” and “Do your letters begin with the correct stroke?”
Teachers guide students on how to form letters using the Stroke Directions such as “Begin at the top line; slant left and down to the bottom line. Lift.” for lowercase a. Teachers ask specific questions to help students evaluate their own handwriting that builds on prior learning such as, “Are your letters about as wide as the models? Does the loop on the H touch the first slant stroke at the middle line?” Activities span beyond the pages in the practice book and involve other learning modalities, such as having students look through magazines to find words that begin with the focus letters for the lesson, then writing those words in cursive, or using chalk to write words.
There are student practice worksheets where students can practice their cursive handwriting skills. Students practice writing lowercase letters and words, then move to capital letters and words, and then sentences and phrases. In Unit 1, students write a personal narrative. In the “Write a Draft,” the teacher reminds students to either write legibly in cursive or type accurately on-screen. In Unit 3, students write a persuasive article. In the Write a Draft, the teacher reminds students to either write legibly in print or cursive in their writer’s notebook or type accurately on-screen. In Unit 5, Week 2, students write a research report. In the Write a Draft, the teacher reminds students to either write legibly in cursive or type accurately on-screen. In Week 5, students write an opinion essay. In the Write a Draft, the teacher tells students they either write legibly in print or cursive in their writer’s notebook or type accurately on-screen.
In additional materials for cursive writing, in a lesson on “Connectives,” students use a practice worksheet page to trace the connectives in cursive writing. The teacher writes loaned on the board and calls attention to the strokes that connect the letters. After teacher guidance and explanation on connectives, students identify the connectives in a series of words by tracing them on a practice sheet. The teacher allows students to work independently. Additionally, in A and O lessons, students practice writing the tall letters A and O. The teacher introduces the uppercase letters by instructing students that all uppercase letters are tall letters that should touch the top line. The teacher models writing A on the guidelines as they say the stroke directions, such as where to start and how to loop. Later, in the “Spacing Letters and Words” section of the lesson, teachers show an example of cursive writing with correct spacing on the board. The teacher emphasizes that in cursive writing, correct spacing is an important key to legible handwriting. The teacher illustrates there should be just enough space for a lowercase o between words. Teachers ask volunteers to read the directions and the first sample sentence aloud. Students explain why the letters are just right. The teacher ensures the spacing between letters and words is correct and that the letters are written properly according to the instruction.
The materials are structured to elicit reading comprehension and provide opportunities for students to speak and listen to texts. Most oral tasks require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported responses to demonstrate knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In every Unit (1‒6), during Week 1, Week 3, and Week 5, there is an “Introduce the Genre” section where the teacher reads aloud and models a comprehension strategy. The students then use the strategy to retell the story using evidence from the text. The oral tasks in these sections ask students to provide clear, concise, and well-defended text-supported claims gained through analysis and synthesis of text.
In Unit 1, students read the realistic fiction text, A Fresh Idea. During the Shared Read, teachers reread part of the text, and students respond. Teachers reread paragraphs 1‒3 and ask, “How might rereading the first three paragraphs help you understand why Mali's mood changes? Have students reread to confirm why Mrs. Fair is closing her stand.” Teachers reread paragraph 4 and ask, “Is Mr. Taylor introduced before or after Mali thinks about her conflict? Have students summarize how Mali’s thought process leads her to think of an idea at the end of the paragraph.” Students make inferences based on text evidence to make their predictions. Also in Unit 1, the teacher reads the Read Aloud, Capturing the Natural World, to the students. The students discuss the elements of the Interactive Read Aloud that let them know it is narrative nonfiction. Then students restate in their own words the most important ideas and details from the read-aloud to summarize the text. In Week 3, the teacher reads the Read Aloud, Finding a Way, to the students. The students discuss the elements of the Read Aloud that let them know it is realistic fiction. Then students restate the most important information from Finding a Way in their own words. In Week 5, the teacher reads the Read Aloud, Electronic Books: A New Way to Read, to the students. The students discuss the elements of the Read Aloud that let them know it is an argumentative text. They will also include the author’s point of view and identify how the author uses evidence to support particular points.
In Unit 2, Week 2, students read Who Wrote the U.S. Constitution. In “Think About It,” students read page 103 and discuss what the information in the sidebar tells them and cite evidence. Then they reread page 104 and discuss how the author describes what happened on July 2, 1787, and cite their evidence. In Week 4, after reading Blancaflor, in Think About It, students reread page 119 and talk with a partner to answer how the author describes the tree and then cite their evidence. Finally, students reread page 123 and talk with a partner to talk about how the author describes the landscape and what happens to the prince and cite evidence.
In Unit 4, after reading, A Window into History, students reread page 287 and talk with a partner to discuss how the author shows the different points of view and why Daniel Cruz is important to the scene, citing evidence. They also reread Act 2, Scene 2, and talk with their partner about how the setting details in this scene build suspense, again citing evidence. In Week 5, after the students read Words Free as Confetti in Talk About It. Students reread page 300 out loud with a partner and talk about how the poem makes them feel. Then students cite the words or phrases the poet uses to create a mood. Next, students reread page 302 and talk with their partner about the poem’s organization. They discuss how it relates to the theme and cite evidence.
In Unit 5, Week 3, students read the historical fiction, The Day the Rollets Got Their Moxie Back. During the shared read, teachers reread paragraph 1 and ask, “What prediction can you make based on the girls’ conversation? Have students predict what type of performance the girls might do for their talent show.” Teachers reread paragraph 5 and ask, “What does the word swell mean? Have students tell how the use of an exclamation point in the sentence helps support their understanding of the word swell along with the overall tone of the sentence.” Students pair up to summarize the selection orally using notes they have taken during the lesson.
In Unit 6, students read The Unbreakable Code. In Talk About It, students reread pages 432 and 433 and discuss with a partner how the author describes the Navajo language in the selection, and students cite evidence. They reread pages 436 and 437 and talk with a partner about how the Navajo code is set up, citing evidence. In Week 3, students read Survival at 40 Below. In Think About It, students reread 453, and partners discuss how frogs change in order to survive the Artic, citing evidence. Students talk with a partner and discuss how the Arctic Fox is like an acrobat and how it is not and cite evidence.
In the program, students engage in productive teamwork and in student-led discussions, in both formal and informal settings. Guidance and practice with grade-level protocols for discussion are clearly outlined for teachers, with additional suggested supports. Students express their thinking and can evaluate their participation in collaborative conversations. Students give organized presentations and performances and use the conventions of language to speak appropriately.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “K–6 Instructional Routines Handbook” provides guidelines and routines for “Collaborative Conversations.” “Collaborative Conversations” occur at the beginning of every week or genre study, as teachers introduce concepts and “Essential Questions,” during close reading, during guided practice and independent practice, and when students respond to and write about texts they are reading. Materials outline specific criteria for success; these include understanding the focus of the conversation, making statements, asking questions related to the focus, listening respectfully to one another, and engaging in multiple exchanges. In these exchanges, students build upon the ideas of others to clarify their thinking and express new thoughts.
The materials contain collaborative conversation routines that guide students through a systematic lesson cycle: “1. Introduce the focus of the conversation. 2. Review relevant guidelines to support student participation. 3. Provide specific information so students know exactly what to do. 4. Monitor student conversations and provide corrective feedback as necessary. 5. Close the conversations.” Materials also suggest additional supports such as role-play, displaying sentence starters, or posting a word bank.
Students self-evaluate and regularly give their peers feedback on their conversations. Teachers ask questions such as “What went well in your conversations this week? What would you like to see happen differently next time?” Also, some videos help model collaborative conversations for students. Models are customizable by grade level. There are student-friendly anchor charts to post in the classroom. One such poster guides students on “How to Have a Collaborative Conversation”: “Listen to the person speaking. Take turns speaking. Respect each other's feelings and ideas. Ask and answer questions about what others are saying about the text. Ask questions to get more information. Say your ideas.”
Students complete three major research projects during the year: “Investigate: National Parks,” “Take a Stand: Water Conservation,” and “Write About: Lewis and Clark.” Using an interactive digital resource, students navigate multiple steps within the project, which culminates in an informative performance task at the end of the unit. Students write a research paper and present their information offline. Students use project-specific rubrics to guide and evaluate their presentations.
In Unit 1, Week 1, Collaborative Conversations, “Listen Carefully,” the teacher observes as students engage in partner, small group, and whole class discussions and encourages them to follow discussion rules by listening carefully to speakers. Teachers remind students to “always look at the person who is speaking, respect others by not interrupting them, and repeat peers’ ideas to check for understanding.” In Week 3, Collaborative Conversations, “Take on Discussion Roles,” students take on roles, such as that of a questioner who asks questions to keep everyone involved and keep the discussion moving, a recorder who takes notes on the important ideas being discussed and later reports to the class, or a discussion monitor who keeps the group on topic and makes sure everyone gets a turn to talk. In Week 5, Collaborative Conversations, “Take Turns Talking,” students engage in partner, small group, and whole class discussions. The teacher encourages them to follow discussion rules: taking turns speaking, waiting for a person to finish before they speak, not speaking over others, quietly raising their hands to let others know they would like a turn, and asking others in the group to share their opinions so that all students have a chance to share.
In Unit 3, Week 6, during “Independent Study,” students brainstorm questions related to an article. For example, “What can I do to help endangered animals?” Students then choose a question to research and conduct the research. Finally, in groups, students share what they learned about how they can help endangered animals.
The materials engage students in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes. Students analyze various aspects of a topic using relevant sources as well as organize and present their work to an audience of peers.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Each grade level has three “Inquiry Space” projects that are available in the “Scope and Sequence” as options throughout the year; they are not tied to any particular unit. Grade 5 has three digitally based research tasks: “Investigate: National Parks,” “Take A Stand: Water Conservation,” and “Write About: Lewis and Clark.” Each research project builds in rigor: from investigating, to taking a side on a controversial issue, to writing about a specific topic. All projects are broken down into steps that include short-term and lengthier inquiry process learning. Each task is completed over several weeks, via carefully sequenced steps. Projects integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking. For example, in the Inquiry Space research project Investigate: National Parks, students select, skim, and scan four sources from the digital tool. Students evaluate both text and video sources for reliability and relevance to see if they will be useful for their research, answering the questions “Will this source answer my questions? Is this source reliable?” If students choose wrong answers (such as responding “Yes” when a source is not reliable), teaching videos pop up to both inform and guide them to the correct choice. Once sources have been saved, students move on to take notes from each source. Students paraphrase as they record facts and questions about their sources. Students continue to consult their sources and notes as they write an outline for their reports; they enter a topic sentence, main ideas, supporting details, and a concluding statement. Students then revise and edit their reports; confer with peers; and use a “Peer Review Checklist” to finalize and publish drafts, which includes what the partner liked, suggestions made, and changes. Students continue to answer questions to self-evaluate, such as “Did I listen to what my partner had to say? Did I proofread my final draft?” Finally, students plan and present their findings to the class and listen to other students’ presentations, using the “Presentation Checklist” and “Listening Checklist” as they do so. Because of the self-paced nature of the project and the fact that students participate in three of these long-term assignments over the course of the year, students have multiple opportunities to build research skills over time and increase their independence.
Grade 5 has opportunities to discuss primary and secondary resources in “Research and Inquiry” aligned to Units 2 and 5. Also, through Research and Inquiry in Units 1, 3, and 5, students have multiple opportunities to practice organizing and presenting their research to their peers—an appropriate grade-level audience. For example, in Unit 1, after reading Camping with the President and “A Walk with Teddy,” students participate in Research and Inquiry. Students work collaboratively with a group to create a research plan, using reliable sources of information to create a promotional map of a national park. The map must include insets, symbols for attractions, and a legend. The teacher reviews the “Presenting Checklist” in “Reading/Writing Companion.” The groups discuss each item and ask and answer questions such as “Does the presentation include special park features? Is the information relevant?” Groups practice their presentation and use natural gestures as they point out specific features on the map. The class discusses features such as a compass rose, title, key, inset, and symbols as well as the reason for including these elements on a map. Students add these items to their map if they are missing. The teacher discusses and reviews the behaviors of an effective listener and audience member. During the presentation, the audience writes down any questions they may have about the topic discussed. Then the teacher guides a discussion of the presentation.
In Unit 2, students engage in a Research and Inquiry assignment aligned to the Essential Question “What do good problem solvers do?” The teacher and students review examples of primary and secondary resources. With a partner or group, students make a poster or multimedia slide show about the creation of the U.S. Constitution; they must include words, pictures, and sounds. Students include important facts about the Constitution and use primary and secondary resources to answer questions such as “What is the U.S. Constitution? Who drafted it? Why was it written? Where and when were the meetings held?” Finally, students share their presentations with the class.
In Unit 5, students engage in a Research and Inquiry assignment aligned to the Essential Question “How do shared experiences help people adapt to change?” The teacher and students discuss reliable primary and secondary resources. Students use primary and secondary sources to create a collage about the Great Depression with a partner or group. They include leaders who tried to solve the problems people had, different struggles that farmers and people in the cities faced, and resources and entertainment that helped people have some fun. Students share their presentations with the class.
The materials provide questions and tasks that are designed to help students build and apply knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. Students interact with different texts and apply their knowledge of vocabulary and comprehension as they complete each task. Research requires students to read and integrate concepts from multiple texts. The materials contain a coherently sequenced set of high-quality, text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within individual texts as well as across multiple texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials have three digitally based research tasks: “Investigate: National Parks,” “Take A Stand: Water Conservation,” and “Write About: Lewis and Clark.” Students complete a task over several weeks via carefully sequenced steps. Each project builds in complexity and integrates reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking. Students interact with different texts and apply their knowledge of vocabulary and comprehension as they complete each level of the task. Research requires students to read and integrate concepts from multiple texts. Each unit begins with an “Essential Question,” and materials subsequently train students to seek the big ideas found in each text. Students can seek help from the teacher when needed, but they work with increasing independence through the self-paced, engaging digital tool.
Students build research skills throughout the materials and increase their independence. For example, in the “Inquiry Space” research project Investigate: National Parks, over several weeks, students work to research national parks, write a report, and present their findings. Students select and scan four sources. As they read and research, students listen to oral directions while using the self-directed digital tool: “Your class is learning about national parks in the U.S. Your teacher has asked you to give a presentation that informs an audience of teachers and students in your school about the purpose national parks serve in the U.S. Your presentation should also include examples of U.S. national parks, and examples of wildlife and landforms that can be found in national parks.” Students evaluate both text and video sources for reliability and relevance to see they are useful for their research, answering questions such as “Will this source answer my questions? Is this source reliable?” If students answer incorrectly, remediation videos pop up. Once sources are saved, students move on to take notes from each source. Students paraphrase as they record facts and questions about their sources. Students consult their sources and notes to write an outline for their reports, entering a topic sentence, main ideas, supporting details, and a concluding statement. Students then answer text-dependent questions to evaluate their work, such as “Did I take notes from each source? Do my notes contain enough facts and information to answer my research questions?” From their outlines, students write drafts and consult sources again if needed. After saving their drafts, students self-check with questions such as “Does my draft focus on a single topic? Does my topic sentence summarize what my report is about, and will my introduction grab the attention of my audience? Is related information grouped together in paragraphs? Do I have at least two details to support each main idea?” Students revise and edit their reports and answer questions such as “Did I use linking words to connect my paragraphs? Do my sentences vary? Do I use formal language in my writing?” Students confer with peers and use a “Peer Review Checklist” to finalize and publish drafts; the checklist covers, for instance, what the partner liked, suggestions made, and changes. Students continue to answer questions to self-evaluate, such as “Did I listen to what my partner had to say? Did I proofread my final draft?” Finally, students plan and present their findings to the class and listen to other students’ presentations, using the “Presentation Checklist” and “Listening Checklist” as they do so.
In Unit 1, while reading Camping with the President, students answer questions such as “Why does the President want to talk to John Muir?” and “Why is the President surprised?” After reading Camping with the President and “A Walk with Teddy,” students make connections to the texts. Students answer the question “How do the photographer and the authors of Camping with the President and ‘A Walk with Teddy’ help you experience nature and change the way you think about it?” Students look at the photograph and read the caption. Students then talk with a partner about how it makes them feel and why, citing evidence. Finally, students think about how the authors use words and phrases to paint a picture of nature in the selections they read this week, responding in writing using the sentence frame “The photographer and the authors help me experience nature by….”
The materials also offer opportunities for students to practice fluency in the “Small Group Differentiated Instruction” portion of the lesson that is available every week throughout the units. In the “Shared Reading” section of the lesson cycle, during Weeks 1, 3, and 5, students have opportunities for fluency practice as well. In Unit 2, students read the text “Creating A Nation.” Students re-read to gain fluency and practice reading strategies.
In Unit 5, Week 3, “Words in Context” in the “Reading/Writing Companion” asks students to participate in the “Visual Vocabulary Cards” routine using the unit’s focus words (assume, guarantee, nominate, obviously, rely, supportive, sympathy, weakling). The teacher and students discuss the word assume by looking at a picture and using the word in a sentence. Students hear the word in context: “When you assume something, you take it for granted, or suppose it is so.” The routine is repeated until all words have been discussed. If there is a Spanish cognate, it is also discussed. In this unit, students also have the option to complete a page from the “Practice Book” focusing on the unit words.
The materials support distributed practice over the entire school year. Questions and tasks build in academic rigor over time and incorporate higher-level thinking such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The provided supports and scaffolds are multimodal and provide choice for reinforcement of learned concepts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout the materials, short sessions and lessons for reading and writing require students to listen, speak, and think. Every grade level has six units. Each unit focuses on a genre. Weeks 1, 3, and 5 have the same lesson structure. The first section is “Introduce the Concept,” where background knowledge is built around an “Essential Question.” In Unit 1, the question is “How can experiencing nature change the way you think about it?” The next lesson is “Listening Comprehension: Introduce the Genre,” where students listen to a text read aloud and list the characteristics of the text. The list defines the genre. The students examine a visual and listen to “Capturing the Natural World,” a narrative nonfiction text. Together, the class creates an anchor chart with the characteristics of narrative nonfiction. Students then participate in a “Shared Reading” lesson cycle. The students read “A Life in the Woods.” Two “Vocabulary” lessons are available for the teacher to use. In Unit 1, Week 1, students learn about homographs and/or words in context. “Grammar and Spelling” are the last two sections. In Unit 1, Week 1, students learn about types of sentences and short vowels. All of these lessons provide short repeated practice in listening, reading, writing, and thinking. Weeks 2 and 4 have the same lesson sequence: “Anchor Text: Literature Anthology,” “Responding to Reading,” “Writing (Genre),” and “Grammar and Spelling Practice.” Each Week 5 has “Reading Digitally,” “Share What You Learned, and “Writing” in a genre studied in the unit.
In Unit 1, Week 4, Vocabulary, students build upon the skills of determining word meanings they acquired in previous grades. The teacher displays the “Differentiated Genre Passage” “Building Our Community,” reads sentences from paragraph 7, and models using context clues to figure out the meaning of the word focusing. Partners then use context clues to figure out the meanings of other unfamiliar words in the passage, confirming meanings in a print or online dictionary.
Throughout the year, students demonstrate and apply spelling knowledge by spelling multisyllabic words with closed syllables; open syllables; VCe syllables; vowel teams, including digraphs and diphthongs; r-controlled syllables; and final stable syllables. For example, in Unit 3, Week 3, students write 20 dictation sentences with targeted spelling words, such as “1. I saw a footprint in the sand. 2. The circus is at the fairground. 3. Although I wasn’t hungry, I still ate. 4. Their laughter was contagious. 5. We must appoint a leader.” The focus for this lesson is vowel teams such as ai (fairground), oo (footprint), ou (although), au (laughter), and oi (appoint).” Students complete distributed practice of previously learned syllable types as they write the sentences and spelling words. Examples of skills from these five sentences include but aren’t limited to closed syllables (sand, at, still); open syllables (I, a, we); and VCe syllables (ate).
Each unit contains digital practice games that students can access. Games provide immediate feedback and opportunities for analysis of errors. In the digital “Your Turn: Vocabulary,” students practice and apply their knowledge of context clues by reading text and deciding whether target words are correctly used. Students drag sentences into “Yes” or “No” columns and can check their work with immediate feedback from the tool. Students must use sentence-level clues, allowing for additional support of the Unit 1, Week 4 “Vocabulary” lesson. Additional support materials are on the “Practice Book” page “Vocabulary—Context Clues—Sentence Clues.” Students read sentences from “Building Our Community,” underline the context clues that helped them figure out the meaning of each word, and record the meanings for sentences, such as in the passage “‘Clara and I were hoping you could take us to the mall next weekend.’ ‘Sorry, Gabriela, I’m working at the hospital this weekend and next weekend,’ she said. ‘Well, then maybe Carlos could take us?’ I persisted, not ready to give up.”
In the digital vocabulary activity “Your Turn: Comprehension,” students practice and apply using words in a passage to determine cause and effect, allowing for additional support of the Unit 6, Week 4 Vocabulary lesson. Additional support materials are on the Practice Book page “Vocabulary Strategy—Context Clues: Paragraphs.” Students read sentences to form paragraphs and underline the context clues that help them figure out the meaning of targeted words. They then write their definitions of words in sentences such as “One kind of adaptation is structural, meaning that the animal’s body has changed so that it can survive in the climate. Possible definition: relating to the way parts work together.”
The materials include a research-based sequence of instructions for grade-level foundational skills. There are sufficient opportunities for student practice to achieve grade-level mastery. Foundational skills are taught in a systematic and explicit TEKS-aligned order across the material in each unit. Materials provide opportunities for students to practice grade-level word recognition skills to promote automaticity both in and out of context. “Practice Book” activities and digital games provide additional practice opportunities for building foundational skills. Professional development whitepapers, videos, and lesson specifics allow teachers to support students in need of effective remediation.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The whitepaper “Foundational Skills, Grades K-5” and the video Three Levels of RTI, both by the nationally recognized educational researcher and consultant Dr. Jan Hasbrouck, outline the four essential prerequisite foundational skills for reading print concepts, fluency, phonological awareness, phonics, and word recognition. The “Scope and Sequence” for each unit contains a “Phonics and Spelling” sequence of instruction, which systematically develops knowledge of grade-level phonics patterns and word analysis skills through explicit instruction that aligns with grade-level TEKS. Also, decoding strategies are taught in a systematic, explicit, TEKS-aligned order within the “Vocabulary” lessons in each unit. Practice Book activities and digital games provide additional practice opportunities for the lesson skills. The “Instructional Strategies Handbook” gives teachers access to systematic routines and practices to support students that need effective remediation. There are work activities for phonological and phonemic awareness, blending, and segmenting. Phonics routines also assist teachers with sound-by-sound blending, building words, and decoding multisyllabic words.
In the “Lesson Cards Foundational Language—Word Automaticity” activity, the teacher explains to students that “Speed Drills” help them read high-frequency words faster and more accurately. The teacher gives them a page of words to practice reading. Students read the words for one minute. The teacher counts how many words the students read correctly. The materials remind teachers to keep track of the words students read correctly to demonstrate where they can improve their speed and accuracy in future drills.
In Unit 1, after reading Tuned Out, students practice building foundational skills by reviewing Greek and Latin Prefixes such as dis-, in-, tele-, and multi-. The students use the prefixes to determine the meaning of the word disadvantage. Students have another opportunity to achieve grade-level mastery by examining the Greek prefix tele- to figure out the meaning of the word television and the Latin prefix multi- to determine the meaning of the word multitasking.
In Unit 2, teachers continue to build word recognition skills by using cards and routines for high-frequency words to help promote automaticity. Using the “High-Frequency Word Cards 41–60,” teachers display one word at a time and follow a systematic sequence of instructions: “Display the word. Read the word. Then spell the word.” Students state the words and spell the words with teachers. Teachers model using words in sentences and have students repeat them. Teachers flip through the word card set as students chorally read the words, then provide opportunities for students to use the words in speaking and writing, such as in sentence starters like “After his bath, the dog was….” Students write words in their “Writer’s Notebooks.”
In Unit 3, Week 1, the teacher builds spelling knowledge as identified in the TEKS and assigns spelling words with open syllables. Then the teacher segments the words sound by sound and points out the open syllables. The teacher demonstrates sorting the spelling words by pattern. Students take a sentence dictation pretest. With a partner, students sort words and write answers in their notebooks. Students also take a sentence dictation post-test. In Week 2, the teacher assigns spelling words with open VV syllables (TEKS 5.2Bi). The teacher segments the word sound by sound and points out the open VV syllables. The teacher demonstrates sorting the spelling words by pattern. Students take a sentence dictation pretest. With a partner, students sort words and write answers in their notebooks. Students then take a sentence dictation post-test.
In Unit 4, Week 5, “Tier 2 Intervention,” students participate in the gradual release model of “I Do, We Do, You Do.” The teacher displays High-Frequency Word Cards 121–160, reads the words, and spells the words. Then students say the words and spell the words with the teacher. The teacher models using a word in a sentence, and the students use their listening skills to repeat the sentence. The teacher displays the words, and students chorally read and spell them. Then the students practice using them in speaking and writing.
In Unit 5, in the “Explain” section, the teacher reviews the most common suffixes (-s, -es, -ed, -ing) and models, using the words joyful and formation. In the guided practice part of the lesson, the teacher displays several words, such as expression, helpful, and creation. The students underline the suffix in each word and say the words chorally. For practice, students use online activities or their Practice Book. Students progress to longer words such as educate/education and prepare/preparation. The class identifies the suffixes and changes in the spelling or pronunciation of the word. The teacher randomly points to words, and the students read them chorally. The student is expected to identify the meaning of and use words with affixes such as trans-, super-, -ive, and -logy and roots such as geo and photo.
“Additional Resources” found across the materials for Grades 3–6 are Tier 2 “Interventions for Fluency” (“Using Fluency Intervention”) and “Intervention/Word Study” (“Using Phonics/Word Study Intervention”). The resources provide a lesson for Weeks 1–5 of every unit with a review lesson. Materials explain their purpose and use and also provide progress monitoring tools, instructional routines, and instructional modifications.
The materials include tools to support and direct teachers in assessing students’ growth in, and mastery of, foundational skills according to TEKS English Language Arts across grades K–6. Teachers have access to materials that allow them to assess each student’s skill set and then place them in the correct groups with appropriate materials to fill the gaps. Materials support the teacher in working with students to self-monitor, use context to confirm or self-correct understanding, and employ rereading when appropriate. Materials also provide detailed guidance and record-keeping opportunities so that teachers can use information to make instructional decisions. Professional development guides and videos offer in-depth understanding of how to administer and utilize diagnostic assessments.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials include tools to support and direct teachers to assess students’ growth in, and mastery of, foundational skills (e.g., skill gaps in phonics and decoding) both in and out of context. For instance, the 325-page “Placement and Diagnostic Assessment Guide” provides teachers with “assessment options to measure critical components of state standards for English Language Arts across grades K–6.” Teachers use the Placement and Diagnostic Assessment Guide to place students into appropriate instructional levels within the program as either “Approaching Level,” “On Grade Level,” or ‘Beyond Level.” It includes screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring assessments. “Foundational Skill” assessments include “Phonological and Phonemic Awareness Subtests,’ “Letter Naming and Sight Word Fluency” tests, “Oral Reading Fluency and Phonics Survey” tests, “Inventories of Developmental Spelling,” and “Critical Low Verbal Language Scales for Vocabulary.” There are “Informal Reading Inventories” for each grade level to measure students’ application of foundational skills in context. Materials provide recommendations for aligning to products such as DIBELS Next and TPRI inventories with the program. Additional guides for teachers include the “Assessment Components and Resources” chart, the “Assessment Administration Guide,” the “Know Your Reports User Guide,” the “Assessment Handbook,” and a guide to “Prepare Students for Online Assessment.” Expert program author videos are also available, such as Jan Hasbrouck’s “Informal Reading Assessments and Progress Assessment.” “Additional Resources” for Grades 3–6 include “Tier 2 Intervention Vocabulary,” “Tier 2 Intervention/Word Study,” “Tier 2 Intervention: Grammar and Writing,” and “Tier 2 Intervention Comprehension.” Teachers can use these for guidance and direction to respond to the needs of each student while monitoring growth and mastery.
The Placement and Diagnostic Assessment Guide supports teachers with guidance and direction to respond to individual students’ literacy needs, based on tools and assessments appropriate to the grade level. The guide gives specific assessments to use and grade-level-specific guidelines for placement. In the introduction section of the resources, the teacher finds “Placement Decisions” for Grades 4–6. This tool directs the teacher on what assessments to conduct and where to place the students in terms of instructional materials (Beyond Level, On Level, and Approaching Level) based on the results of their assessments. The materials provide several resources to monitor and assess students’ growth. For grade 5, teachers give students the Oral Reading Fluency Assessment, Reading Comprehension Tests, Sight Word Fluency Assessment (if applicable) and Phonics Survey Subtests (if applicable). There is a flowchart with guidance for specific score points. For example, “If students score in the 50th percentile or higher on the Oral Reading Fluency Assessment AND 80% correct or higher on the Reading Comprehension Tests, teachers begin instruction with Wonders On Level materials. Use Beyond Level materials for students who score high on placement assessments and easily complete On Level assignments.” Materials also suggest that at the beginning of the year, teachers make instructional decisions about which lessons to use from the “Foundational Skills Kit” based on results of the Placement and Diagnostic Assessment.
The materials also support the teacher in working with students to self-monitor and self-correct their understanding of context. For example, in Unit 2, the teacher discusses with students what they can do if they come across challenging text. The teacher provides guidance to students on how to monitor and adjust comprehension. They model and explain to reread more slowly, stop and reread a section again, reread it multiple times if needed to gain an understanding of the meaning of the text, and pause occasionally and ask to help determine the main idea of the text. The teacher explains to students that monitoring their comprehension can help them understand details from the text.
The materials provide opportunities for students to develop fluency and accuracy. Each unit contains fluency lessons related to the main reading selection. The ancillary materials and online digital activities contain fluency opportunities. Students complete independent reading, close reading, and shared reading to build fluency with grade-level texts. Lessons and practice activities include explicit instruction in fluency, including phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy. Progress monitoring assessments provide resources for teachers to regularly monitor and provide corrective feedback on phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials provide students opportunities to read grade-level texts as they make meaning and build foundational skills. In Unit 3, “Self-Selected Reading,” students choose a realistic fiction book and preview the book by looking at the title and back and front cover. As students read, they summarize the text. While reading, students fill in the character’s words, actions, and experiences on a copy of the online “Theme Graphic Organizer.” They then use the details to determine the theme. Students share their reactions to the book with the class.
Materials include explicit instruction in fluency, including phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy. In Unit 3, Week 3, teachers explain that in order to read accurately, it may be necessary to read at a slower rate and that good readers vary their rate, or reading speed, based on what they are reading and based on their purpose for reading. For example, they might read a chapter from a science textbook at a slower rate than a magazine article. Teachers model reading the first page of “Gulf Spill Superheroes” accurately and at an appropriate rate. Partners alternate reading paragraphs in the passage, demonstrating the rate used by the teacher. Teachers encourage them to read accurately and at an appropriate rate.
In Unit 4, the teacher links reading a poem to reading with expression to help convey the author’s message and the emotions the speaker wishes to convey to the audience. The teacher models expression using the excerpt on page 175 of the “Reading/Writing Companion.” The teacher also uses the callouts on the page to support the model. Before the independent practice, the teacher models how to read the text based on the feelings the poem evokes, reading with expression. Then, with a partner, students read “When I Dance” on page 159 of the Reading/Writing Companion. The teacher monitors and provides feedback as needed.
The “Placement and Diagnostic Assessment Guide” provides “Informal Reading Inventory” and “Oral Reading Fluency” passages for Grades 1–6. As teachers administer the Oral Reading Fluency assessment, they determine the “Oral Reading Accuracy Rate,” divide the WCPM by the total number of words read, and capture this information on a recording sheet. Teachers use the “Prosody” scoring table on the recording sheet to measure a student’s ability to “Read in Phrases,” “Pace,” “Syntax,” “Self-Correction,” and “Intonation.” Teachers score students on an “Oral Fluency Scale,” allowing for the tracking and improvement of their performance over time. At each grade level, there are two fiction and two nonfiction reading passages, which alternate between oral reading and silent reading, since the Informal Reading Inventory tests for both oral and silent reading comprehension and fluency.
The materials include various planning and learning opportunities for students who demonstrate literacy skills above that expected at grade level. All lessons include differentiation to meet the needs of students above grade level. The activities allow for learning opportunities to meet the needs of those students that need to be challenged in the classroom. Guidance includes extensions and differentiation activities that come with general instructions and graphic organizers.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Above grade-level planning and learning opportunities are in the “Small Group Instruction-Beyond the Level” throughout the instructional materials. Students use a text that is above the level of the whole group lesson to participate in the vocabulary and comprehension lesson. Students are pre-assessed to discover their spelling and vocabulary levels. The teacher uses data from pre-assessment to customize word work according to student needs.
In Unit 2, Week 3, students read The Fox and the Snail as part of a differentiation vocabulary lesson. The essential question for the unit is “When has a plan helped you accomplish a task?” In the personification part of the lesson, the teacher points out that the fox in the story is performing an action slyly, like a person, and students apply their learning to other such words. Extension support for above-level students is: “Have students perform research to learn about a famous plan in history that helped accomplish a task. Challenge students to write a two-to-three paragraph explanation of what they learned using words from their writer’s notebook and present their findings to the class.” Students choose their own research topic and practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills as they give the oral report.
During Unit 3, Week 4, for students beyond grade level, the teacher provides extension opportunities such as “Be inspired.” Students think about the selection “Building a Green Town” and other selections they have read. The teacher asks students beyond grade level to consider, “What do the texts inspire you to do?” Students respond to the text by choosing one of the following activities: “Create a Brochure” or “Write an Interview Script.” During the “Create a Brochure Activity,” students choose one of the “groups” read about this week. Students collaborate with classmates to design a brochure the group could use to fundraise and help their project. In the brochure, students communicate how the group is helping and how readers’ donations benefit their cause. During the “Write an Interview Script Activity,” students choose a group and create interview questions and answers for a news interview. Students include details about how group members collaborated to accomplish goals as well as how people can become involved in the group.
In Unit 4, Week 4, students choose their own drama for sustained silent reading. Students complete a graphic organizer and keep records of books they have read in reading journals. The teacher challenges students working above grade level to discuss how their books relate to the key concept of discoveries: “How can taking a second look lead to new discoveries, as evidenced by the characters in the dramas?” This teacher support provides an opportunity to make connections to other appropriately leveled books and to real-world problems and solutions. It also encourages students to monitor their own patterns of book choices and learning.
In Unit 6, Week 1, students work with Greek Roots as part of Differentiated Spelling. The teacher reads the spelling words aloud, emphasizing the Greek roots. The teacher displays Greek roots such as astr/aster, photo, tele, auto, phon, mech, myth, and graph and has students sort spelling words that share the same Greek roots. The teacher assesses prior knowledge to determine which words students already know, including lists and dictation sentences for students beyond grade level.
The materials provide planning and learning opportunities (including extensions and differentiation) for teachers to meet the needs of students working below grade level. The materials provide guidance for small group instruction and placement and diagnostic assessments to determine whether students need additional support. Scaffolds and supports apply to all areas of literacy.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Several placement and diagnostic assessments are available to define student achievement: “Informal Reading Inventory,” “Oral Reading Fluency,” “Letter Naming/Sight Words,” “Phonics/Decoding,” “Phonological and Phonemic Awareness,” “Reading Comprehension,” and “Spelling/Vocabulary.” Scoring criteria charts guide teachers in determining whether students are on, below, or above grade level. For example, for the Reading Comprehension assessment, a score below 15 out of 56 would place students below grade level; 15‒25 is on grade 3 level; 26‒34 is grade 4 level; and 35‒42 is grade 5 level.
To help monitor student progress, teachers use “Quick Checks” in the “Teacher’s Edition,” which provide feedback on key skills. For example, materials provide the following guidance: “Assist in the specific and general vocabulary to be used for each lesson, using reinforcement or additional practice afterward. Pre-teach vocabulary and provide adequate opportunities for students to hear and use new vocabulary in context before applying to practice and application.” Also, the “Professional Development Author and Coach” videos address topics that may be needed to remedy gaps in student learning, such as the continuing importance of foundational literacy skills, applying those skills to reading, and decoding multisyllabic word routines. The “Instructional Routines Handbook” provides additional routines and strategies for scaffolded instruction.
“Leveled Readers” are available to teachers to assist students with various literacy skills. For example, in Unit 2, students “Approaching Level” (AL) work on reading comprehension of the problem-and-solution text structure. The teacher reminds students of this text structure and how the author identifies the problem and describes steps to identify the solution. The teacher reads the first paragraph of “Secret Help from Spain,” an AL text. Next, the teacher guides the students in identifying the problem. The teacher reads the next two paragraphs and helps the students describe how each paragraph provides more information about the problem.
Materials for AL include small group lessons for skills that involve such things as “Review of High-Frequency Words,” “Review Vocabulary,” and “Understanding Vocabulary Words and Greek Roots.” In Unit 5, during a “Greek Roots” lesson, The teacher displays the AL differentiated online passage “Is There Life Out There?” In the “I Do” section, the teacher models by using think-aloud techniques: “The Greek prefix astro- means star and the Greek root bio means life. The suffix -logy means the study of. I also see a context clue: ‘life in space.’ Astrobiology must be the study of life in space.” The teacher models how to use the suffix -logy. In the “We Do” section, the teacher and students point to the word photosynthesis and discuss how to determine the meaning of the word by breaking it down into syllables. In the “You Do” section, students find the words hydrothermal and chemosynthesis and use the Greek roots to define the word.
The materials provide daily linguistic accommodations for English Learners (ELs) for core lessons as well as “Leveled Readers” that are used in small group instruction. There are scaffolds such as visuals, adapted text, glossaries, and other modes of comprehensible input. Professional development materials encourage the strategic use of students’ first language for vocabulary and academic development. Vocabulary is developed in isolation as well as in context. Students have regular opportunities to gain proficiency in speaking, listening to, reading, and writing English.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
All weekly lessons include support for ELs that is communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded according to various levels of English language proficiency as defined by the ELPS (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, Advanced High). “Bridge to English Lessons” provide linguistic, affective, and academic development in each unit. In the “ELL” section of the “Teacher Edition,” there is a “Scaffolded Shared Reading” plan for Beginning and Intermediate ELs. In the “Shared Reading Planning Guide,” teachers create a language objective, build background knowledge, chunk text using the interactive read-aloud, guide students in building an interactive glossary, and develop oral language by summarizing text. Sentence frames and paragraph frames provide language support so ELs can participate with the text at the same level of rigor with language supports. Beginners use an adapted version of the shared reading.
The “Guide to Linguistic Transfer” is a teacher’s resource guide that gives additional EL strategies. Dr. Jana Echevarria, the author of the Sheltered Instruction Protocol, and Dr. Josefina Tinajero, a bilingual education scholar, are the authors of this guide. In this guide, students examine cognates and Spanish language patterns as compared to English language patterns. Word sorts are available for every spelling lesson. The word sorts introduce concepts of the English language and allow ELs to recognize spelling patterns.
The materials provide scaffolds for ELs. For example, teachers access a set of “Newcomer Cards” with visuals that help students develop their basic interpersonal communication skills and general academic language. Cards are categorized in the Table of Contents, and students begin with basics such as greetings and their names. Visuals are color photos and illustrations with labels, depicting school life, family, community, and the world. A “Newcomer’s Teacher’s Guide” provides lessons on these common basic language topics as well as some oral language assessments, conversation starters, and games.
Materials encourage strategic use of students’ first language as a means to linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic development in English. Materials provide opportunities for students to participate in connected discourse and to make connections to prior knowledge. In each of the adapted “Bridge to English,” the publisher provides a glossary with Spanish cognates for challenging words and phrases. An example of this glossary can be found in Unit 1 with amazing (amazing), encounter (encuentro), naturalist (naturalista), tool (herramienta); Unit 3 with archaeologist (arqueólogo), unearth (desenterrar), fragment (fragmento), historian (historiador); and Unit 5 with chemical (químico), pollute (contaminar), release (emitir), and waste (malgastar).
The “Language Transfers Handbook,” available for all grade levels, provides “Language Transfer Charts” to encourage strategic use of students’ first language. The chart indicates areas in which a positive or approximate transfer of sounds occurs for English learners from their native languages into English. Resources highlight transferable skills and sounds that students can produce even when there is no equivalent in the native language. Teachers emphasize the skills that cross over into second language acquisition. Additionally, materials provide a “Sound Transfer Chart” that features consonants and digraphs that transfer over into Spanish, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Hmong, and Korean.
In Unit 3, teachers choose activities according to the student’s level of English proficiency as they read “Winter’s Tail,” an expository text about a dolphin who became injured in a crab trap and lost her tail. During a lesson on author’s craft, Beginning ELs choral read the first paragraph and answer questions: “A prosthesis replaces a body part. Where is Winter injured? The tail. What is the team making for Winter? They're making a new tail prosthesis.” Intermediate ELs read with partners and discuss the problem they read about: “Why was the fit an obstacle for the team? There was no place to attach the tail. Why did the team worry about winter skin? Dolphins have sensitive skin.” Advanced and Advanced High ELs work in small groups to describe the type of prosthesis the team would have to make: “Possible answers: The tail would have to work and move in water. It would have to attach to Winter’s body.” Students look at the photograph and discuss how the photograph supports the information in the text. Students describe what the photograph shows and how it helps them visualize what the team had to do.
In Unit 5, “Small Group English Language Learner,” “When a Planet Is Not a Planet,” the teacher leads a discussion of vocabulary words using visual picture cards before the text is reread. Advanced and Advanced High ELs work with native speakers to retell main events. The teacher and students discuss the biography characteristics found in the text. Beginning ELs answer by pointing and using yes-or-no responses. Intermediate ELs have sentence stems. Advanced/Advanced High ELs infer. This section includes accommodations for linguistics (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with various levels of English language proficiency as defined by the ELPS.
Unit 6 has a vocabulary lesson called “Words in Context,” which is differentiated by English language proficiency level. Students learn words from the text they are reading with the class to better comprehend the text and to increase language proficiency.
The materials have multiple formative and summative assessments to be used as benchmarks and for progress monitoring. There are guidelines for using student assessment data in designation and grouping decisions as well as for determining which assessments to use. The assessments are aligned to the TEKS.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Assessment Components and Resources Chart” lists all formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments are progress monitoring assessments for Weeks 1–2, Weeks 3–4, and Week 5. They include new texts for students to read and check students’ use of vocabulary and comprehension for the previous 1–2 weeks of learning. This allows the teacher to monitor mastery and adjust whole groups and small groups as needed before Week 6 (end of the unit). Each unit has weekly or biweekly assessments to check for mastery of the TEKS taught in that unit, and the materials provide a plan for reteaching whole group or small group. The materials provide answer keys with the content the question focuses on, the TEKS being tested, and the depth of complexity of the question (DOK 1–4). Assessments are a mix of comprehension questions, vocabulary questions, and “English Language Conventions” questions. There is a rationale for each question. Students have opportunities to respond in various ways. For example, some assessments ask multiple-choice questions; some require evidence-based responses; some are performance-based tasks; some have constructed responses; and some have technology-enhanced items. There are selection tests for reading passages within the units. There is a summative assessment for each unit aligned to the TEKS. Student progress is measured based on an understanding of TEKS-aligned reading content for that unit. Also, students write in response to a prompt. Texts alternate between literary and informational, and there are items testing foundational skills, vocabulary strategies, and conventions. Scoring guidelines for writing include exemplar models; rubrics are also available.
The “Benchmark Assessments Grade 5” provides more opportunities to monitor student progress. This resource has three tests that have multiple-choice, evidence-based responses, performance-based tasks, constructed responses, and technology-enhanced items. There is an answer key along with rubrics. The first test covers Units 1–3; the second test covers skills from Units 4–6; the third test covers various performance tasks. The resource helps support the teacher in developing small groups and provides opportunities for reteaching to support mastery of skills and TEKS.
The materials provide sufficient guidance for interpreting and responding to student performance in various ways. For example, the “K-5 Assessment Handbook” guides teachers on how to administer and score the various assessment components. It provides guidelines for using student assessment data in designation and grouping decisions as well as determining which assessments to use. Another resource, “Making the Most of Assessment Results,” guides teachers on how to review the assessment with students to have them self-correct incorrect responses. The teacher uses the results to determine reteaching or enrichment opportunities based on the needs of the students.
An “Online Assessment Center” provides teachers with an “Item Analysis Report” and “Standards Analysis Report.” The “Data Dashboard” offers “Recommendations Reports,” “Activity Reports,” “Skills Reports,” and “Progress Reports,” all to help the teacher determine the next steps in planning and instruction. The “Reteaching Opportunities With Intervention” online resource explains when to reteach according to provided parameters. For instance, if a student scores below 70% in comprehension, the teacher can reteach the tested skills using the “Comprehension” PDF. There is support for extending activities for gifted and talented students, such as through “Beyond Level” small group lessons, workstation activities, and “Differentiated Genre Passages.”
The materials provide year-long plans with support and guidance for teachers to identify the needs of students. Additionally, the materials suggest ways for teachers to provide differentiated instruction and multiple groupings, based on the needs of the student. The materials engage students and assist teachers throughout the instructional framework and through the use of ancillary and resource materials.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials provide an overarching year-long plan for teachers to engage students in multiple groupings. For example, throughout the materials, the “Weekly Planner” provides for differentiation within the whole group lesson as well as in weekly small group lessons. There are “Differentiated Instruction” lessons for students depending on their reading level designation (“Approaching,” “On Grade Level,” “Beyond Grade Level,” “English Learners”). Small group differentiated lessons include “Phonics/Decoding,” “Fluency,” “Comprehension,” and “Vocabulary” components as needed according to students’ skills. The teacher places students in a flexible reading group based on the diagnostic assessment as well as on data taken from the formative and summative assessment found in each unit.
The materials provide multiple teachers’ tools to help support student learning and differentiate instruction. Professional development videos support teachers; these include “Changing Daily Instructional Schedules,” “Introduction to Grouping for Instruction,” “Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Grouping,” “Incorporating Flexible Groups and Reassigning Group Membership,” and “Selecting Group Size.” These videos address the logistics of choosing, scheduling, and changing groups. The professional development video “Leveling Up with Leveled Readers” explains that leveled readers are organized as a set of connected readings on similar topics, so students who are initially reading at a lower level of text can advance. Students read the easier text and then jump to harder texts (50–100 Lexile) in later reads; this engages them in their learning, as they use background knowledge they previously learned. Students move within flexible groupings as they progress. The materials also provide 72 “Literature Circle” lessons. Students from all reading level designations participate in Literature Circles, using the “Thinkmark” questions and graphic organizers to guide the discussion. Teachers follow up with whole class discussions based on the content of the “Leveled Readers.”
The teacher materials include multiple annotations and support for engaging students in the materials as well as support for implementing ancillary and resource materials with student progress components. An ancillary resource available for grades 3–6 is the “Handwriting Cursive Workbook: Annotated Teacher’s Edition.” This resource provides the answers for the teacher. Another support for teachers is the “Reading/Writing Companion Annotated Version” (Units 1–2, Units 3–4, and Units 5–6). This resource provides the teacher with answers, underlined or circled text evidence, think-alouds, and notes explaining portions of the text. The “Grammar Handbook” is another resource annotated with answers to the questions. Teachers have access to “Differentiated Texts English Language Learners Teacher’s Edition Annotated Text.” There is one for Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. The “Teacher Edition Genre Studies 1-2” for each unit provides more information on the “Essential Question,” “Leveled Text,” “Take Notes,” and “Reinforce Vocabulary.” It also provides the answers to each question. The materials have vocabulary cards for each week in the unit. The front of the vocabulary card has a picture to represent the word. The back has a teacher script titled “Teach Talk.” Teach Talk provides the teacher with a definition, an example, and a question to ask, asking students to look back at the picture. The teacher points to the picture and says the word and sentence. There is also “Partner Talk” on the back of the card, and it includes discussing the word as it connects/relates to students. There are also “Visual Vocabulary Words” found throughout the units that provide the teacher with guidance on how to use the cards.
Teachers have access to a TEKS-aligned “Scope and Sequence” and “Pacing Guides.” There are videos to support teachers in implementing the resources and support for administrators to help teachers with implementation. Pacing guides support 120-minute, 90-minute, or 60-minute blocks for implementing 180 days of literacy instruction. Although the program contains sufficient materials to support a longer timeframe, 220-day schedules are not specifically outlined.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials have a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence for each grade level of the program. It outlines the essential knowledge and skills taught in each unit, including the weeks in which they are taught, the “Essential Questions” for the unit, and the comprehension focus/TEKS. Throughout the materials, there are six units containing six weeks of material; all are organized consistently across the program for each grade level. Each week has a “Weekly Plan,” “Weekly Standards,” and a “Calendar” to help with planning and pacing. A “Genre Focus” occurs every two weeks of the program. For example, in Weeks 1–2, it is expository text. In Weeks 3–4, it is historical fiction. In Week 5, it is poetry. Weeks 1–5 in each unit contain the following sections, which address research-based and TEKS-aligned routines, practices, and materials: “Read Aloud,” with interactive read-aloud titles; “Shared Read,” with selection titles and specific genres and Lexile levels; “Literature Anthology,” with anchor texts and paired selections; “Leveled Readers,” with titles of main and paired selections with Lexile levels; and “Vocabulary,” with weekly text-aligned words and strategies. The sixth week of each unit is for review, assessment, and extension activities and includes sections with materials for “Reading Digitally,” “Fluency,” “Show What You Learned,” and “Writing and Presentation Options” such as “Reader’s Theater,” “Inquiry Space,” and “Writing.”
An “Implementation Timeline” provides teachers with additional support to help implement the materials; an overview explains how to get the materials set up for the year. It is divided into three sections: “Before Implementation,” “Initial Implementation,” and “Ongoing.” Before Implementation, teachers redeem master codes, set up a class calendar in the online teacher workspace, and begin professional learning modules. During Initial Implementation, teachers set up the “Wonders” classroom, plan initial lessons using the customizable online planner, use digital resources to support daily lessons, administer placement tests, enter students’ reading levels in their online profiles, and set up groups for small group instruction. Teachers review additional support materials, including the “Manage Small Group Time” module, assessment and data materials, and classroom and coach videos. In Ongoing, teachers use real-time data in the “Data Dashboard” to inform student grouping and plan targeted lessons, adjust the online calendar as needed, and continue to reference the materials on the professional development page for implementation support.
Materials include additional supports to help administrators support teachers in implementing the materials. An “Administrator Implementation Checklist” provides administrators information on how to help teachers get started with the program. It includes a Before Implementation: Administrators check program materials against the inventory list, distribute materials and master codes, direct teachers to the website (my.mheducation.com), monitor teacher progress, and communicate student learning goals with teachers. During Initial Implementation, administrators ensure classrooms have all needed materials and monitor teacher progress toward completing the “Wonders Basics” and “Digital Quick Start” professional development modules. The materials provide an “Administrative Walkthrough and Beginning of Year Classroom Observation” tool. The Administrative Walk-Through has 10 “Look Fors,” such as the climate and tone of the classroom, pacing of whole group lessons, the use of print and digital resources, and evidence of student data driving the whole group and small group instruction. It encourages administrators to conduct at least two 5-minute walkthroughs to monitor implementation throughout the year. Administrators can view reports in the Data Dashboard and work with coaches to use mid-year in end-of-year observation tools to help teachers reflect on instructional practices and set goals. An “Administrator Best Practices for Implementation” video is also available.
In the “K-6 Professional Development” book, “Suggested Lesson Plans and Pacing Guides” contains a plan to cover a 180-day schedule. Although the program contains sufficient materials to support a longer timeframe, a 220-day schedule is not specifically outlined.
The materials reflect an appropriate use of white space to support students’ anecdotal notes and understanding of information. Across the materials, the illustrations and graphics (timelines, photos, charts, and other visual graphics) are engaging and relevant. The visual design of the materials is organized and not distracting and contributes to student learning.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials include appropriate use of white space and design that supports and does not distract from student learning. Selections across the student materials include consistent margins in all printed and digital materials. White space is provided around and between text and questions. Colorful illustrations are used for text selections. Pages where students answer questions are free of illustrations so that students can focus on their answers or on returning to the text. Subheadings in the text are in a larger font and often in different colors. Color is used to differentiate vocabulary words and different types of tasks. In Unit 3, Week 1, students read The Reluctant Traveler. On one page, there is space for students to write notes, interesting words, and key words. On another page, there is a sentence with a highlighted word and a question underneath that aligns with the vocabulary word. There are lines underneath for student response. In Unit 5, Week 1, students read “Changing Views of the Earth” in the “Reading/Writing Companion.” There is a picture, a place for notes, and a place to write down interesting words and key details. There are photos with captions, questions to answer aligned to the TEKS, and tasks to complete. Students practice using vocabulary words. There is a sentence with a highlighted word and a question underneath that aligns with the vocabulary word. Lines underneath allow for student response. On the page, notes and questions are in margins with a white background. Students find a sidebar indicating the “Essential Question,” a magnifying glass reminding them to “Cite Text Evidence,” and a logo depicting two students discussing to prompt students to reread the text and answer an “Author’s Craft Question.”
Image graphics are supportive of student learning because they relate to the texts students read, are colorful, and are engaging without being visually distracting. Graphic organizers are frequently used to help students make sense of what they read. Types of images used vary depending on the text genre. Fictional stories have a cartoon or drawn illustrations, while nonfiction selections use photos. Images are used to reflect people of various ethnic backgrounds and ages and in a variety of locations. The digital text has tools to adjust text size and images for better viewing if needed. The student edition supports student learning with consistent icons used across the materials. Upon entering the student digital edition, students encounter an image with brown sand-colored butterflies that resemble mountains encircled by an orange shiny band. Surrounding this graphic students see five graphic icons. One icon displays a notebook with a green checkmark; as the student moves the cursor over the icon, the words “To Do” appear in white font over a green background. Another icon is the letter “W” on a blue cube. When the student moves the cursor over this icon, “Words to Know” appears in white font on a red background. The other three icons have similar formats: images of a notebook and pencil, a book, and a controller represent “Read,” “Games,” and “Write.” In the background of these images, materials depict a desert landscape with a cactus in the foreground and an oasis in the center. At the top of the screen, the student finds “My Binder,” “Collaborate,” “Resources,” and “School to Home.” Beside the words “School to Home,” materials include an icon with a pencil and an “ABC” icon. If the student clicks on the “ABC” icon, a glossary pops up with words; behind these words, the student sees white space. This format is similar across all grade levels; however, the images found in the center of each grade level are different and unique to that grade level.
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:
Technology supports and enhances student learning as appropriate, as opposed to distracting from it, and includes appropriate teacher guidance. This happens through interactive games, videos, and activities for each week that support the TEKS taught during the week. The “Teacher’s Edition” includes appropriate guidance for teachers on the online options available to them. The online activities and games support learning in grammar, phonics, fluency, spelling, word sorts, structural analysis, and vocabulary practice. The students engage in the interactive game or activity and then check their work; there is a “try again” option for any incorrect answers. The online resources are simple to view by clicking on “open this resource.” Teachers find details about the resource and the alignment to the TEKS being taught in that unit. Teachers can assign each resource directly to students for practice via Google classroom. Teachers have access to songs for spelling and grammar. Students have access to the “Leveled Readers” online. Teachers have access to an “Online Assessment Center.” The Online Assessment Center allows teachers to view an exam as a student would view it, edit the assessment, assign the assessment to students, print the assessment, and export metadata.
The materials also have a digital student edition. The student edition has an easy-to-navigate homepage that contains icons for “To Do,” “Words to Know,” “Write,” “Read,” and “Games,” so that students can locate the section of the materials that they need. Students have a digital “My Binder” resource divided with clickable links, such as the “Reading/Writing Companion Unit 1–2,” “3–4,” or “5–6.” Students click on the worktext for the current unit. Clickable boxes allow students to type alongside each question. Tools to interact with the text and questions include a highlighter, drawing, a sticky note, and audio reading. Each unit has several interactive games and activities for grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension tasks. Practice activities relate to the concepts being studied in the unit and only present a limited amount of text and answer choices at a time to help students focus. Activities include a self-checking button so that students are held accountable for doing each part correctly.
There are many videos and digital images to support student learning, such as the “Build Knowledge” videos to help students with prior knowledge, “Grammar and Spelling Song” videos, “Interactive Read Alouds,” and “Opener” videos. Images are clear and relevant to the text, and videos are brief and are age- and grade-appropriate. A digital activity in each grade level is “The Alphabet Interactive.” Students interact with the chart by clicking on a letter. Options appear on the screen for students to listen to a song about the letter. If students want to hear the letter sound, they click on corresponding buttons. Additionally, materials contain games such as the “Grammar Activity” and “Build Vocabulary Activity.” In one of the Grammar Activity games, the student matches the correct contraction with the corresponding subject and verb, such as “you are” to “you’re.” Games are straightforward and user-friendly.
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