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Pre-K | 2020
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.
Social & Emotional
Language & Development
Emergent Literacy Reading
Emergent Literacy Writing
Section 2. Integration of Content and Skills
Section 3. Health and Wellness Associated Domains
Section 4. Language and Communication Domain
Section 5. Emergent Literacy: Reading Domain
Section 6. Emergent Literacy: Writing Domain
Section 7. Mathematics Domain
Section 8. Science, Social Studies, Fine Arts, and Technology Domains
Section 9. Progress Monitoring
Section 10. Supports for All Learners
Section 11. Implementation
Section 12. Additional Information: Technology, Cost, Professional Learning, and Additional Language Supports
|Grade||Student TPG %||Teacher TPG %|
The materials are cross-curricular and integrated in an authentic way to support students’ unified experience throughout the day. The materials include specific, intentional, and purposeful cross-curricular connections to create a unified experience for students and name which domains are purposefully developed or reinforced in each learning activity.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 2, students sing a song about families and practice “counting on” with envelopes to mail to family members. While at centers, students paint a picture of their family at the park using verbs to describe the actions in the picture; build a home in the “Construction Zone;” explore materials such as wood, stones, and mud to build a house in the “Exploration Station;” and participate in role-play at the post office in “Dramatic Play,” to write and send letters to family members. The students read All the Families and Houses and Homes and then write about their own family during journal time. Each unit includes an introduction or overview of the theme and explains what the students will explore and learn throughout the unit. The overview also provides “Essential Questions” for the unit that target the skills students will learn. Each lesson addresses the target and lists the “Prekindergarten Guidelines.” For example, in the “Family and Community” thematic unit, the materials list the following Prekindergarten Guidelines: VII.A.2.a, VII.A.2.b, VII.B.3.a, and VII.B.3.d. Other guidelines addressed in the lessons include II.E.1.a, II.D.5.c, IV.A.1.a, VI.A.1.b, VI.A.1.c, VI.A.1.e, VI.A.1.f, I.B.1a.i, I.C.4.b, and I.C.4.a.
In Unit 6, during a “Morning Meeting,” the students demonstrate a basic understanding of body parts by discussing internal and external body parts. The students sing “Dem Bones” and later sing it again after creating mouth and body diagrams in the “Learning Lab” lesson. In the “Art Easel” center, students explore and paint parts of the digestive system; they use body parts, like their fingers, to paint in the “Art Studio” center. In the Construction Zone, students create large replicas of the human skeletal system. They demonstrate an understanding of body systems and parts through puzzle exploration in the “Investigation Location.” The unit includes an introduction and overview of the theme. The overview explains that students will explore the parts of the body, healthy habits, and how to keep their bodies safe. The overview also provides Essential Questions for the unit, like “What are the basic parts of my body? What are the basic needs of people?” As previously stated, each lesson addresses the target of the lesson and lists the Prekindergarten Guidelines; for example, in the “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds” thematic unit, the materials list the following Prekindergarten Guidelines: VI.B.1.d, III.D.3.b, II.D.1.a-h, II.D.2.a, IV.A.2.a, III.A.2.b, and V.A.2.a.
In Unit 10, the students learn about space. Students use various mediums to paint themselves in space at the Art Easel center and make telescopes out of cardboard, tissue paper, and rubber bands at the Art Studio center. In the Exploration Station, students explore magnets to show how gravity affects the solar system. The students learn, observe, and describe objects and materials’ physical properties, addressing Prekindergarten Guidelines: VI.A.1.a, VI.A.1.b, VI.A.1.c, VI.A.1.e, and VI.A.1.f and use various mediums, such as paint, play dough, and clay: VIII.A.1.a, VIII.A.1.b, VIII.A.1.c, VIII.A.1.d.
The materials utilize high-quality texts as a core component of content and skill integration. The texts are strategically chosen to support content and skill development in multiple domains.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 3, the class reads the well-known fiction book Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker. During the first reading of this book, the teacher discusses and defines vocabulary in the book, such as construction site, beam, and cement mixer. The students practice oral grammar by answering questions about the book using simple subject-verb-object sentences. The teacher asks questions such as “What are the construction vehicles getting ready for in the story?” and “Why do you think the construction vehicles are so tired?” The teacher shows the students pages 7–8 of the book, which contain a picture of a crane. The teacher then has the students listen to a poem about cranes; students move their bodies like a crane to the poem’s words. Later in the unit, the students practice separating two-syllable words from the story into syllables. These words include building, cement, mixer, busy, engine, happy, and sleepy. The students also practice following three-step directions while playing a game based on construction vehicle characters in the story. For example, “touch your toes, spin like Cement Mixer, scoop-like Excavator.”
In Unit 5, the teacher reads Anansi The Spider, A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott. The book is a folktale, a Caldecott Medal winner, and is at a prekindergarten level. The book relates to the unit’s theme, “Culture;” it is about the Ashanti people in West Africa. The teacher discusses what a spider is with the students, draws and talks about its legs, and makes shapes like the spider. During “Journal” time, the teacher leads the students with the prompt “Which spider would you like to be?”
In Unit 8, the teacher reads aloud the nonfiction book How Big Were the Dinosaurs? by Bernard Most. This book supports the Unit 8 theme, “Fossils and Dinosaurs.” After the first reading, students use a non-standard unit of measurement, yarn, to compare the size of an Ankylosaurus to the size of a pre-k student. After the second reading of this book, students sort dinosaurs on a T-chart based on whether the dinosaur was a herbivore or a carnivore. For this activity, the teacher shows the students a picture of a dinosaur and tells them what the dinosaur eats; students tell the teacher if the dinosaur is an herbivore or carnivore. After the third reading of the book, students visualize and draw a dinosaur to demonstrate size. The teacher models the activity to the students by drawing a dinosaur and then a school to show that the dinosaur is as big as the school.
The materials support developmentally appropriate practice across all content domains. The materials include a variety of opportunities for purposeful play that promotes student choice. They provide guidance to teachers on connecting all domains to play and setting up and facilitating activities to meet, reinforce, or practice learning objectives. Materials have an intentional balance of direct instruction and student choice, including purposefully planned learning centers, as appropriate for the content and skill development.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide a “High-Quality Environment (HQE) Rating Framework,” which guides the teacher in establishing a “Welcoming and Predictable Environment” for the students. The HQE guides classroom organization and recommends the placement of furniture and equipment so that students can move freely without collision or tripping. Following the guidance, the teacher posts classroom rules and expectations and a daily schedule with words and pictures at the children’s’ eye level. The materials include a training module titled “Centers in a High-Quality Classroom Environment.” This module guides the teacher to set up eight recommended learning centers. The teacher practices identifying classroom centers in this module while playing an interactive game. The materials recommend that teachers organize centers to support both active and quiet activities.
In Unit 3, during a “Morning Meeting” activity, students identify and write the numbers 0 through 5. The teacher shows the students a number; students say the number; the teacher chooses a student to write that number. The activity is connected to play as the child who writes the number picks a construction movement, such as “honk like a dump truck,” for other students to do that amount of times. The teacher places number cards in the “Investigation Location” center for students to identify and match numbers during centers. Additionally, the students use construction vehicles to trace the numbers. Paper and writing tools are also provided in this center for the students to practice writing numbers. Direct large group instruction lessons follow a gradual release model and encourage the students’ participation. For example, during a “Learning Lab” lesson, the teacher models to the students how to use the materials to create a bridge for the counting bears and how the bear can “walk” from one side to the other using the created bridge. The students then can practice using 3–4 plastic cups and craft sticks to make a bridge.
In Unit 6, students explore healthy foods while they plan and paint a bowl of fruit and “build” their plate of healthy food with pictures of food taped to blocks. Students also build a food pyramid in the “Construction Zone.” Students make connections to their body: They move specific parts of their body to move the marble through the paint; act out a fitness center in the “Dramatic Play” center; and study flexing and extending in the “Exploration Station,” using therabands and homemade weights made from water bottles filled with rocks. The students also review the Healthy Body Book and track their exercises in their “exercise journal” in the “Writing” center. Students have the opportunity to free-write on Fridays. The teacher models choosing what to write about and reminds the students: “We have been learning all about the basic needs of people like healthy food, exercise, and rest! I am going to write about my favorite healthy meal!” After a read-aloud lesson of the book How to Make an Awesome Cake, students make mud cakes in the Exploration Station and practice following a recipe and using measuring cups to compare different measurements. The teacher models comparative language and has the students think about which measurement tool would be better to measure flour, asking, “Is a cup more or less than a tablespoon?”
In Unit 9, students focus on the skills of reducing, reusing, and recycling during centers. Students create picture frames using classroom materials and other recyclable items; build a park in the Construction Zone; and practice picking up litter and sorting recyclables into “plastic, cardboard, or glass” in the Dramatic Play center and Exploration Station. Students read about conservation in the “Reading” center; make recycling posters in the Writing center, and collaborate on a class mural in the “Art Easel” center. During the read-aloud of From Seed to Plant, students learn the parts of a flower. In the “Art Studio,” students create flowers with stems, leaves, and petals. The teacher leads students to identify the parts of the plants and review what plants need to grow. Later in the unit, students vote on one of three books they read that week: Flower Garden, Lots and Lots of Zebra Stripes, and Small World. The teacher facilitates the voting, holding up each book while students raise their hands. The teacher reads the “winning” book, refers to previous lessons about the book, and builds upon students’ related experiences.
The materials fit within a developmentally appropriate programmatic structure. The materials specify whether they are for three- or four-year-old children. The materials include a variety of options that differentiate instruction for the level of development. The materials provide schedule differentiation for half-day and full-day prekindergarten programs. However, they do not provide differentiated use recommendations for different schedules.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Every Child Ready Texas Manual” notes that the curriculum includes separate content for three- and four-year-olds. The “Thematic Curriculum” distinguishes the materials with the labels “PS” (Preschool) for three-year-olds and “PK” (prekindergarten) for four-year-olds. The “Flexible Small Group Plans” lessons contain the PS and PK labels as well.
The Every Child Ready Texas Manual also lists a suggested full- and half-day schedule. The full-day schedule covers the hours of 8:00–3:25. The half-day schedule, which covers 8:00–12:00, suggests an extra half hour of centers instead of morning and afternoon center time as in the full-day schedule. The half-day schedule does not include a gross motor activity or outdoor playtime; it recommends two read-alouds and alternates a “Journal” and “Learning Lab” activity at the end of the day before dismissal. The materials do not fully guide the teacher in implementing these schedule recommendations. For example, the recommended full-day schedule allots 20 minutes for Journal and 20 minutes for Learning Lab activities. The recommended half-day schedule combines these activities as “Journaling or Learning Lab” in an allotted time of 10 minutes. The materials do not guide the teacher on adapting or condensing a 20-minute Journal or Learning Lab activity into a 10-minute activity for the half-day schedule.
In Unit 1, for both the Preschool (PS) and Prekindergarten (PK) curriculums, the teacher reads the book Jordan’s Day. The book discusses various feelings felt by a boy who is having a tough day. The materials provide comprehension questions, which are scaffolded based on age. During the PS read-aloud lesson, the teacher asks, “What does ‘calm’ mean?” During the PK read-aloud lesson, the teacher also asks, “What does calm mean?” but then also asks, “Why is it important for us to be calm?”
In Unit 5, for both the Preschool (PS) and Prekindergarten (PK) curriculums, the teacher reads the book Alex Learns to Play. In this book, something goes wrong each time the character Alex tries to play with his peers. The materials scaffold the lessons based on age. During the PS lesson, the teacher focuses on discussing and defining the lesson’s vocabulary words. During the PK lesson, the teacher discusses the lesson’s vocabulary words and connects the learning to the students’ lives. For example, the teacher and the students discuss and practice how to ask a friend to play.
In Unit 9, for both the Preschool (PS) and Prekindergarten (PK) curriculums, the teacher reads the book Stuck. In this book, the main character encounters many problems. During the PS lesson, the teacher discusses each vocabulary word and asks questions concerning those words. For example, the first vocabulary word the teacher discusses is kite. In the PS read-aloud, the teacher says, “A kite is a light frame covered in paper or plastic that you fly in the air using a long string.” In the PK read-aloud, the teacher does not define the word kite and instead focuses on the word stuck. During the PK lesson, the teacher asks open-ended questions in order for students to interact with the story and make real-world connections.
The materials include detailed guidance that supports teachers’ delivery of instruction. Guidance for teachers is evident and provides explicit instructional strategies for teaching prekindergarten skills. The materials include detailed and explicit guidance for teacher and student actions that support student development and proficiency of content and skills. The materials provide detailed guidance for connecting students’ prior content knowledge and experiences to new learning.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide the “Every Child Ready Phonological Awareness Scope and Sequence,” taught throughout Units 1–10. PK4 phonological awareness skills include syllables, rhyming words, compound words, phonemes, and initial and final sounds. According to the “Attribute Checklist Manual,” the materials target a progression of skills that include phonological awareness and basic decoding using letter sounds and blends. “Every Child Ready Research” states that the accelerated literacy unit includes a phonological awareness section created to spiral through critical skills, such as phonological sensitivity. In addition, the Every Child Ready Research document states that the “Accelerated Literacy Curriculum” aligns with research for early literacy and reading.
The “Flexible Small Group” lessons provide an overview that defines the targeted skill and its importance, end-of-unit expectations, and end-of-plan expectations for the teacher to assess the students. For example, in the tiered “Comprehension” small group lessons, the materials list an overview of the skill and development of those skills. The overview explains the importance of comprehension skills and their real-world applications. The materials also anticipate challenges and identify vocabulary development and understanding of new words for the children to be able to follow the directions. The materials list what the children are expected to do at the end of the lessons. Each tier lists its own expectation. For example, in the Tier 3 lessons, children will follow 2-step directions. In the Tier 2 lessons, children will follow 3-step directions. In Tier 1 lessons, children will be able to follow 3- to 4-step directions. The materials provide guidance to the teacher on spiraling concepts and using a gradual release to teach new concepts.
In Unit 4, the teacher uses concrete materials with children and continues to use the same materials throughout different lessons that focus on the same theme and concepts. The students participate in direct instruction, guided instruction, and child-directed instruction. For example, after a read-aloud of Maybe Something Beautiful, the teacher builds on the learning and discussion in centers. Students discuss the city from the book while in the “Construction Center” and use construction paper to add a mural to the city. Students act out parts of the story at the “Art Easel” and in the “Dramatic Play” center. The writing prompt for the “Journal’ activity is “Would you like to live in Mira’s neighborhood? Why or why not?”
In Unit 8, after the teacher reads Soil Basics in the read-aloud lesson, the teacher asks the “Question of the Day,” “What do you know about soil?” and records student responses. Additional Questions of the Day include “Would an insect be safer finding shelter inside a tree or outside of a tree?” “What can you find in soil?” and “Name an item you can compost.” During centers, the teacher follows up on the read-aloud lessons and asks children to paint logs and create shelters, observe compost, create stories and collages, and observe and discuss different types of soil. Students also paint with mud in the Art Easel center.
In Unit 10, the teacher uses open-ended questions such as “What do you see in the sky at night?” to engage students in the introduction of the unit’s theme. The teacher places pictures of things found in space in each of the centers to develop the theme. During the “Morning Meeting,” the teacher asks, “What is an astronaut?” The teacher shows a picture and video of astronauts living and working in space. During the read-aloud of Working in Space, the teacher develops background knowledge for students in areas that may be unfamiliar to them. Prior to reading the book, the teacher conducts a picture walk of the book. During the picture walk, the teacher points out the special clothing worn by astronauts in space to stay safe. After the second read-aloud, students create astronaut helmets. Students then wear the helmets in the Dramatic Play center as they participate in “Astronaut Training.”
The materials are supported by child development research on children’s development within and across all domains. The materials include a clear description of how the curriculum is supported by child development research. The materials provide research-based guidance for instruction that enriches educators’ understanding of early childhood development and the validity of the recommended approach. The cited research is current, academic, relevant to early childhood development, and applicable to Texas-specific context and demographics. The materials do contain a bibliography.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Every Child Ready Texas Manual” states that the curriculum is an evidence-based, comprehensive instructional model. According to the manual, the “Every Child Ready” instructional model is a comprehensive approach to early learning. The “Kindergarten Readiness Through Essential Learning Standards” resource guides day-to-day instruction. The standards help teachers make decisions for day-to-day instruction, communicate with families, and use measurement tools. Learning domains align with Texas learning standards and include “Social and Emotional Development,” “Mathematics,” “Science,” “Language,” “Literacy,” “Social Studies,” “Physical Development,” and “Creative Arts.” The research indicates that, on average, for Language results, children in Every Child Ready classrooms increase their Language scores by 26%. Additionally, the materials report that “CLASS” scores are above average in Every Child Ready classrooms; Literacy scores show an increase of 40%, and Math scores show an increase of 30%. The materials do provide a bibliography in the online training manual called “Every Child Ready: An Evidence-Based Instructional Model;” it is located on p. 36–44. The “Texas User Manual” has a bibliography on p. 79–88.
The “Every Child Ready: An Evidence-Based Instructional Model Guide” guides the teacher in instructional approaches in areas such as “Center Play,” “Social-Emotional Learning,” and “Early Writing.” For example, the section on Center Play in this guide encourages the use of these learning areas in the classroom, highlighting benefits of centers, such as increasing the deliberateness of children’s play, developing vocabulary, and practicing delayed gratification in turn-taking. The Center Play section briefly touches on centers’ implementation, materials, and facilitation. The “Social-Emotional Learning” section provides the teacher with an understanding of early childhood development best practices in this area. This brief section of the guide highlights that Unit 1 of the “Every Child Ready Thematic Curriculum” focuses entirely on social and emotional skill development coupled with classroom expectations. The basis for this is Montessori’s first six weeks and Vygotsky’s “Zone of Proximal Development,” which show that dedicated instruction over a period of time has positive effects on children. The guide’s section on Early Writing contains research-based guidance for instruction in this area. It highlights why early writing matters and how to create a writing culture in the preschool classroom. For example, the material notes the importance of reading to children and, to “kick lines to the curb,” of providing blank paper to preschool-aged children so that they do not become confused by lines for writing.
The cited research in this program is current and academic; it includes experts and sources relevant to early childhood. For example, the cited research in the area of Language includes research from the National Early Literacy Panel (2008), information from a 2009 journal article on promoting language development in young children, and a 2005 source highlighting the development of phonological awareness. A cited source in the area of Math was authored by Jennifer Taylor-Cox. Jennifer Taylor-Cox is a nationally known educator and educational consultant who provides professional development in numerous districts across the United States. The Science cited research includes a 2016 source (“Math, Science, and Technology in the Early Grades) and a 2017 source (Unleashing the Power of Science in Early Childhood).
The instructional materials provide direct instruction targeting social skill development through the use of developmentally appropriate instructional strategies. The materials provide guidance for teachers to model self-concept and self-regulation skills, relationships with others, and social awareness skills. The materials include many appropriate texts that support the development of social competencies and competencies to understand and respond to emotions.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide “Self-Soothing Lessons” within the “Flexible Small Group Lessons.” For example, Lesson 2 introduces what it means to calm down and the “Calming Space” within the classroom. In Lesson 3, students take turns going to the spot while the teacher reminds them of using the space when they feel strong emotions. Lessons 4 and 6 introduce visualization and imagination, and Lessons 7–9 introduce deep breathing and relaxation while in the Calming Space. The materials include teacher guidance on modeling and demonstrating behaviors and competencies. For example, in the flexible small group lesson “Asking Peers for Help,” the teacher models what it looks like to work together with peers. For example, the teacher models working with a peer to put together a puzzle; afterward, students practice with partners. Some texts included in the “List of Materials” are I’m Gonna Like Me, Using My Words, and I Didn’t Know It Would Be Like This. These texts support themes such as self-concept and responding to emotions.
In Unit 1, a read-aloud lesson of The Calm Body Book follows a gradual release model. Before reading, the teacher reviews ways children can calm down within the classroom and explains why it is important to maintain a safe body. During the read-aloud, the teacher describes the calm-down techniques, and the children practice; for example, the children make a “warm breath like a dragon.” At the end of the lesson, the teacher reviews vocabulary through a shared writing activity where she makes a classroom list of new words from the lesson. The teacher references the poster in later read-alouds of the book and implements calm body opportunities throughout the day.
The Calm Body Book lesson provides self-regulation guidance on how to model the calm-down strategies during the read-aloud, gross motor, small group, and journal lessons. For example, during a gross motor lesson, the teacher discusses with students how stretching and bending can help relax the body. The teacher models stretching the neck, shoulders, legs, and back. Students follow the teacher’s direction to stretch and relax their bodies. The text demonstrates different imaginative scenes for children to visualize, such as space, a meadow with a train, and a garden. The Calm Body Book supports the development of competencies to understand and respond to emotions. The book says, “When you’re feeling sad, angry, lonely, upset, or excited, use your imagination to visit wonderful places and calm your body.” Other texts in this unit include Pete the Cat and the New Guy, which engages children in a discussion of what makes a good friend. In the story, the main character, Pete the Cat, shows readers how to be a good friend. After reading the book to the children, the class fills out a chart about friends. While reading The Crocodile and the Dentist, the teacher discusses various emotions shown by the characters in the book, such as being angry and scared.
In Unit 6, during a small group lesson, the students practice sharing. The teacher introduces the lesson to the students and uses a child-friendly definition of sharing. The teacher provides students with an example of when sharing is necessary during centers. The teacher models sharing by showing children several toys and asking students questions, such as “How would you feel if I said you couldn’t play with these toys? How would you feel if I shared my toys with each of you?” The teacher demonstrates how to share with a partner, and then children practice this skill with each other independently. The teacher provides sentence stems for children to use to ask a peer to share, such as “Can I play with you, please?” The teacher places the children in pairs to practice asking questions to initiate sharing. The teacher closes the activity and asks the children how they felt when their partner shared with them.
In Unit 8, the teacher reads the book How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends? during three read-aloud lessons. During the lesson, the teacher introduces and reviews what it looks like to be a good friend. As the teacher reads the book, the teacher thinks aloud and writes down children’s responses regarding the characteristics of a good friend. During the second and third reading, the teacher models and guides children to role-play what being a good friend is, various emotional situations such as sharing an item and fighting with friends, and how lying makes the other person feel. During the second reading of the book, the teacher asks, “Why are the dinosaurs fighting? Is it a good idea to yell at a friend? Why? If you feel upset or frustrated with a friend, what can you do so that both of you feel better?” The teacher reviews the list of characteristics of a good friend from the previous reading. After reading, the teacher provides scenarios to role-play, such as “Your friend made you angry, but then said sorry.” The teacher coaches the children through different scenarios. In the last read-aloud, using self-talk, the teacher tells about a time someone was a good friend. Students then collaborate on a friendship mural.
Materials include repeated opportunities for students to practice social skills throughout the day; skills are taught in a variety of ways. The materials provide opportunities to learn, practice, and apply social skills throughout the day, such as when these skills are reinforced during center time. There are a variety of practice opportunities authentically integrated throughout all other content domains.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The instructional materials provide flexible small group lessons that can be used throughout the year as needed. In a flexible small group lesson, the teacher creates a personalized social story to identify emotions using pictures. The teacher reviews the story with the students and then says, “We can set this story in your cubby so you can look at it when you feel upset inside. I can even look at it with you if you want sometimes.” Various skill applications addressed at the end of the lesson include incorporating feeling words and vocabulary into daily instruction, routines, and conversation, such as when children play with peers in centers or during “Morning Meetings.” The teacher recognizes and discusses children’s feelings “in the moment” throughout the day; for example, the teacher may say, “Emily, your face looks sad. Do you miss your mommy?” The teacher refers to stories that discuss triggers and feelings that the child can relate to during other activities as well.
In Unit 1, during a small group lesson on recognizing feelings, the teacher models how to be a feelings detective. After this, students practice recognizing feelings using the “Feelings Spinner Game.” It is suggested that the teacher has a “Feelings Check-In” throughout the day to give students the opportunity to practice the skill; children tell the teacher how they are feeling and why throughout the day. During center facilitation for the “Art Easel,” the teacher extends the conversation to cover the topic of students’ feet. The teacher asks, “What are feet for? We sit on the carpet during Morning Meeting. I wonder how I should sit and where my feet should be.” In the “Construction Zone,” students play with figures on a playground they build and talk about differences between how they behave outside and inside. The teacher says, “Your figures are laughing and talking loudly together outside. Can you show me how they talk to each other inside?”
In Unit 2, during a whole group partial reading of The Calm Body Book, students practice new stretches to support emotional and behavioral regulation in the classroom such as “Balloon Belly,” “Warm Breath,” “Feather Breath,” “Shy Breath,” and “Row the Boat.” The lesson suggests that students use the various poses throughout the day to support calming and relaxation.
In Unit 3, the teacher reads Roll, Slope, Slide as a read-aloud with students. During the read-aloud, the teacher and students discuss different types of ramps, such as slides and roller coasters. An extension to this lesson is introduced in the “Dramatic Play” center “At the Amusement Park.” The teacher asks students, “What is a ramp? How is a rollercoaster like a ramp? Look at the roller coaster. It takes riders from a higher place to a lower place! Let’s pretend we are on a rollercoaster!” The teacher also facilitates role-playing emotions about riding a roller coaster: “I’m excited to ride the rollercoaster, but I’m also a bit scared. Are you scared? Pretend to buckle the seatbelt. I better put on my seatbelt so I’m safe. Can you buckle your belt? Tell me when you start the rollercoaster. Put your hands in the air and lean side to side. Woah, this rollercoaster is fun!”
In Unit 5, the “Centers Facilitation Guide” provides guidance on how teachers can support lessons within the week’s theme. The “Centers Facilitation Guide” provides guidance for the teacher regarding play supports, vocabulary words, questions, and writing prompts in different centers in the classroom.
In Unit 6, during Morning Meeting, the teacher introduces the activity “Trade with the Music.” The teacher says, “Let’s play a game to practice! Trading means switching with someone else. Say ‘trade.’ I am going to give each of you a small toy. When you hear music, you are going to walk around the room. When the music stops, find a peer and ask to trade. You can say, ‘Will you trade your ... with me?’ Demonstrate. Remember, if a peer says ‘no,’ that’s okay. You can ask again.” Later in the day, during centers, the teacher provides specific praise when they notice children trading during play.
Unit 9 incorporates lessons such as the Feelings Check-In, which uses a pictorial feeling scale for students to use to check in with how they are feeling at different points in the day. The application suggests that students check-in before centers, during centers, and after centers to see how their feelings may have changed. However, these lessons are not incorporated in any other content domains and are stand-alone lessons for Morning Meeting and “AM Read-Aloud.”
The instructional materials reviewed include ideal classroom arrangements that support positive social interactions. The materials meet the criteria because they do provide a blueprint for the arrangement of the classroom space, and there is consideration for a variety of classroom designs and sizes. The materials do not provide much support or guidance for the teacher to include students in the arrangement of the classroom.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials guide the teacher in classroom arrangement that supports daily opportunities for the practice of social skills, including in daily learning centers. The materials provide training modules on a platform called Canvas E-Learning. The “High-Quality Environment” training module includes instructional videos. One video depicts a live classroom with students playing in centers. There is a voice-over narrating how to effectively set up daily centers. The video recommends free choice and movement within the centers for the students to explore and navigate their own learning, which promotes natural child development. Other videos within the Canvas E-Learning platform provide a blueprint for the layout of centers for a prekindergarten classroom. The materials also provide the “Every Child Ready Texas User Manual,” which explains how to create a playful learning environment. The manual states: “Engaging, playful classrooms begin with developmentally-appropriate designs. Every Child Ready classrooms receive support for creating a high-quality classroom environment which includes eight learning Centers.” The centers are “Art Studio,” “Art Easel,” “Construction Zone,” “Dramatic Play,” “Exploration Station,” “Investigation Location,” “Library,” and “Writing.”
The Texas User Manual asks, “When is the best time to support social-emotional learning? Every day! Daily opportunities for instruction and practice support children in building social and emotional competencies, such as identifying emotions, managing small frustrations, and peer encouragement.”
The “Every Child Ready Research” provides an overview of important qualities to consider for the learning centers in every classroom. The teacher is advised: “You’ll need to consider space, classroom traffic flow, available materials, and other school systems (e.g., school-wide positive behavior programs)” when establishing centers within the classroom. In the High-Quality Environment training, teachers practice applying design tips that are applicable to any classroom arrangement. In the "Practice: Welcoming and Predictable Environment" clickable video, teachers determine how to change the environment to welcome a new student, make toys accessible to children, and support purposeful play & clean up.
In Unit 2, during the Exploration Station center, the teacher provides children with the language to enter play. The teacher says, “You can ask, ‘Can I play too?’” Daily, during Art Easel, students paint their feelings and big emotions. The teacher supports children in identifying their feelings: “How are you feeling today? Do you ever feel sad? Can you paint sad? What color would you use to show sadness?” The teacher discusses regulation strategies based on the child’s feelings: “Are you feeling nervous? What can you do to feel calm? I see you are feeling excited! What can you do if you are excited and need to calm down?” In Art Studio, students create “feeling puppets” and role play with them, “talking through their feelings to calm down.” Centers are set up in a weekly rotation, and children are offered free choice to move throughout the centers to foster independence and build bridges across the curriculum.
The materials give the teacher guidance on classroom arrangement to support teacher-student and student-student interactions. The materials include “Every Child Ready Research” as part of the instructional model. The research provides an overview of important qualities to consider for the learning centers. The teacher is advised: “You’ll need to consider space, classroom traffic flow, available materials, and other school systems (e.g., school-wide positive behavior programs)” when establishing centers within the classroom; “Centers can also connect throughout the room to support these opportunities.” The materials only provide one example of a specific classroom arrangement. On the blueprint, there are tabs that show how-to videos for the arrangement of each center; a teacher explains and demonstrates how to set up a center. For example, a teacher demonstrates how to set up a thematic Construction Zone. She uses blocks covered in dried leaves, greenery, and sticks to make a forest center. The materials suggest putting numbers on the blocks to be used for counting from 1 to 10. Books that match the forest theme are used during the facilitation of the center, which helps with vocabulary and children’s understanding of what happens in a forest.
In the “High-Quality Environment Training Module 2,” the “Welcoming and Predictable Environment” video recommends organizing learning centers “so students can participate in active or quiet activities without interruption.” The materials state: “By thoughtfully placing learning centers, you encourage and support increased focus, positive interactions with peers and adults, and purposeful play.”
The materials consider a variety of factors and components of the physical space and their impact on students’ social development. In the High-Quality Environment module, the materials provide training to support the necessary areas in the classroom. The materials suggest the teacher post a daily schedule and classroom rules on the wall at student height, labeled with pictures and text in child-friendly language. The teacher can reference this throughout the day to promote a safe and predictable environment. The materials incorporate the daily schedule and classroom rules throughout various lessons in Unit 1 to reinforce expectations.
Also in the High-Quality Environment module, there is a “Rating Framework” available to evaluate how “Welcoming and Predictable” the environment is. Things to consider include: Children have a place for their personal belongings that is clearly labeled and distinct to them; children's work is posted throughout the room; children’s cultures and families are reflected in the classroom through displays and materials; a daily schedule featuring words and pictures is posted at children’s eye level; classroom organization supports adult-child and peer conversation and interactions through thoughtfully placed furniture, displays, books, and toys; a calm, quiet, cozy space containing soft materials, a feelings poster, and books is provided for children to practice self-calming and self-regulation strategies.
The materials provide the “Calming Space Manual,” which is “a step-by-step guide for using a Calming Space to help children identify, express, and regulate emotions at school.” There is a section within this manual that guides the teacher in setting up the classroom “Calming Space.” The manual states, “You’ll need to consider space, classroom traffic flow, available materials, and other school systems (e.g., school-wide positive behavior programs),” and addresses concerns for the Calming Space such as size, safety, furniture, manipulatives, print materials, and timer.
The guidance for the classroom Calming Space includes many suggestions and recommendations for arrangements that impact students’ social development. The materials suggest the space should: be large enough for a child to comfortably lie down without interfering with instruction, especially centers; be large enough for the teacher to sit with a child, with a minimum recommended size of three feet by three feet; be private enough for a child to disengage from classroom activity, but be easily seen by the teacher or another adult; not be placed in an area where logical consequences are often enforced (if one exists) or near the small group instruction table; have at least three objects that are colorful and of varying sizes, prints, and textures (these may help with refocusing the emotional state); have a variety of print materials placed at children’s eye level to facilitate coaching children around emotions and calming strategies; have an optional sand or other visual timer, for use both by the child and the teacher. The materials further suggest that, when selecting a timer, a digital and/or noisy timer should not be used in order to maintain the space’s calming nature.
The materials can be implemented easily and effectively within a classroom arrangement that supports positive social interactions. In the High-Quality Environment module, the video states that classrooms should provide spaces for both active or quiet activities and that cozy areas should be incorporated into classrooms.
In Unit 1, one of the “Мorning Мeetings” teaches students about good deeds. The teacher asks, “Did a peer do a good deed for you yesterday? Let’s see how many wonderful deeds our friends and peers have done! At the end of the week, we can count all the good deeds.” The teacher highlights any good deeds that children may have added from the previous day.
In Unit 2, the materials incorporate explicit instruction that is useful and relevant to both whole group and small group instruction. One Morning Meeting lesson addresses the theme and reviews the signs for father and brother, followed by the teacher introducing a calming strategy through singing the song “Take a Breath.” The materials address when to sing the song. The teacher says, “At school or home, we have strong emotions, like angry or frustrated. What can we do to help us control strong emotions? We can sing a song.” After the morning meeting, students participate in small groups, which include lessons such as “Deep Breathing,” “Encouragement and Praise,” and “Calming Space Review.” The Encouragement and Praise lesson guides students to interact with and praise peers. The Deep Breathing and Calming Space Review lessons are teacher-directed and do not facilitate children interacting with each other.
In Unit 10, the teacher supports social interactions and poses discussion questions in whole group lessons. For example, during Morning Meeting, the teacher says, “We are going to play an emotions game called Feelings Toss! To play the game, you are going to listen to a short story. After the story, you are going to think about how you feel (happy, sad, mad). Then, you are going to toss a ball into the container that matches your emotion!” Short stories include “While playing with his friends on the playground, Toby slipped and fell”; “Harris’s class is going on a field trip to the zoo.”
Once a student selects an emotion, there is a class discussion about the emotions selected. The teacher asks, “Why did you throw your ball in the ... container?” The teacher highlights that emotions might vary, and that is okay. The teacher then asks, “Does anyone feel a different emotion? How do you feel? Why?”
The materials provide suggestions for how to engage students in classroom arrangement in order to promote student ownership of the space. In the High-Quality Environment module, the materials encourage teachers to set up centers at the beginning of the year, before children arrive. There is an interactive map that showcases the positions of the centers within the classroom and expands on how to make high-quality centers by connecting centers through a common theme; posting children’s work to support learning play and conversation; including authentic and print-rich materials; including writing prompts and books throughout the classroom; and providing materials that support math and science learning through play. The materials suggest that the teacher create a special spot, such as a cubby, for each child with the child’s name, pictures, family pictures, or decoration that represents the child because a special space supports self-concept and creates a welcoming environment. The module also suggests that teachers display items within the classroom that reflect children’s cultures and families and support children’s sense of belonging to the community.
In Unit 1, the teacher works with students to create classroom posters reflecting rules and routines. The teacher asks, “What kind of poster are you making? Why did you choose to make that poster? What is your favorite school rule? You are making a sign showing how we should use our hands at school. What are some of the ways we should use our hands?”
In Unit 2, a small group lesson reviews the daily schedule. Students practice putting the schedule in order. The teacher says, “Our schedule (point to your posted schedule) helps us know what we will do next. I know every day after Morning Meeting we go to the Centers. We are going to use these pictures to put our schedule in order.” Following the small group lesson, a “Question of the Day” is posed: “Look at our schedule. What comes after ...?”
The materials reviewed include activities to develop physical skills and refine motor development through movement. The materials partially meet the criteria because although opportunities to practice these skills exist, they are not numerous. The materials provide daily opportunities to develop gross motor skills through movement. Fine motor tasks are offered two times during center times.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide the “Every Child Ready Texas Manual” which includes a section on the importance of physical and motor development. The manual includes 8–10 minutes of “Gross Motor Time” each day, in which the daily schedule supports balance, coordination, and social learning through movement and games. Gross Motor Time is included on the full-day daily schedule but not on the half-day daily schedule. The manual also suggests physical play during “Morning Meeting” activities; however, the Morning Meeting physical play activities are not numerous.
The materials include some suggestions for movement opportunities embedded in instruction time. Six of eight centers always offer writing, and one center, the Investigation center, always offers non-writing fine motor tasks such as working with puzzles, beads, and linking cubes. This guidance is provided to teachers in the High-Quality Environment course on CANVAS. A High-Quality Classroom Centers video and “HQE Centers poster” in the References & Resources section, say “Investigation Location sometimes called Toys and Games, supports children’s understanding of literacy, math, and science through the investigation of puzzles and manipulatives.”
In the “Flexible Small Group Plan,” there is an activity where children use rhythm sticks to tap to numbers while singing up to the number 8. The practice section for this lesson suggests, “Children can also stomp or march when they say the numbers at the end.” This activity repeats in a later lesson where students practice counting to 10. In another small group lesson, children count to 10 while singing the song “If You’re Happy, Count!” The practice section of this lesson suggests using verbs such as clap, hop, stomp, or tap in place of the word count in order to incorporate movement during the song. The flexible small group lessons also incorporate a few opportunities for fine motor skills development, which are addressed mainly in math lessons. For example, when learning about patterns, students use clothespins and bears to make color and positional patterns. The teacher says, “Remember we made patterns with positions with clothespins? Position is the way something is sitting, standing, or lying down. I am going to make a pattern with bears standing and lying down.” Other math lessons include manipulatives such as linking chains, linking cubes, dice, and counters. During a Tier 3 lesson, the guide suggests for the teacher to incorporate materials that develop grip and fine motor skills, such as tweezers and clothespins, into daily activities. The materials show activity suggestions for teachers to incorporate these materials. For example, in Unit 2, week 1, teachers incorporate clothespins in the Investigation Location center to teach 1 to 1 correspondence. In Unit 6, week 4, teachers incorporate tweezers, pipe cleaners, and straws into the Exploration Station center to help students strengthen fine motor skills.
In Unit 2, as well as in the other units throughout the materials, the recommended full-day daily schedule offers at least two opportunities for gross motor play, including outdoor recess and a gross motor lesson at the end of each day. Gross motor lessons in Unit 2 include the obstacle course play race “Copy Me!” where students use balance and movement and follow patterns of movements; and “What Number?” where children select a number card, identify the number, and then move their bodies that many times. Other opportunities for gross motor development include a “Read Aloud” lesson from The Calm Body Book, which the teacher uses throughout the unit, guiding students to practice different body stretches for self-regulation. In the “Investigation Location” center, students practice one-to-one correspondence by matching one clothespin to each dot. While students match the clothespins to the dots, they count softly to think about how many matches they make. Most fine motor activities are presented in centers and integrated into small or whole group lessons.
In Unit 4, two of the five Morning Meetings incorporate a movement activity. Gross motor activities include the activity “Around the Rug,” during which children practice how to walk, march, and skip with the teacher. After this, the children walk, march, and skip as directed while listening to the song “Walking Around the Room.” There are also gross motor activities during which students make movement patterns such as “jump, clap, stomp, jump, clap, stomp.”
In Unit 6, children play “Freeze Dance,” a game that incorporates dancing while looking for letters. During this game, children dance or move their bodies while music plays. When the music stops, the children listen for a letter, find the letter on the floor, and freeze by it.
In Unit 8, on two of the five days, students move like a dinosaur. The gross motor activity for the other three days is an adaptation of the game “Simon Says” called “Pete the Paleontologist.” Some of the directions Pete gives include “pop like popcorn” and “walk like a huge dinosaur.” In one lesson, students use fine motor skills to explore digging for fossils in relation to the unit’s weekly theme. Students use shovels, sand diggers, and hands to dig for fossils.
In Unit 10, with continued exposure, children practice more fine motor skills in whole group and project-based lessons. The teacher says, “Let’s make a set of 6 linking cubes. Hmm, what should I do first? Yes, I should count out 6 linking cubes. If I have trouble, I can put the linking cube on the dots. This will help me count to 6.” The teacher gives students a dot strip and linking cubes. The students count them out together or work in pairs.
Throughout the units, there are multiple opportunities for flexible small groups where the teacher works on specific students' needs for gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Students work on counting syllables moving while they listen for sounds. Students also act out words to learn the meaning of the word.
The materials include activities that develop safe and healthy habits in students. The materials reviewed meet the criteria for the indicator because social and emotional instruction and many other healthy habits are addressed.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include resources that teachers can use to guide students to practice healthy and unhealthy habits with students. The “Family Connection” section includes a letter to families explaining the “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds” unit and provides an overview of the unit, learning tips, and at-home activities including “Push and Pull,” “When I Lose My Tooth,” and “Busy Bodies.” Busy Bodies follows up on a book read in class, The Busy Body Book. The assignment asks students to write and draw about how they keep their bodies busy at home. When I Lose My Tooth follows up on a lesson discussing teeth and the dentist. The assignment asks students to write and draw what they think will happen when they lose a baby tooth. Push and Pull asks students to think about the things they can push or pull using their muscles. Using the provided chart, students write and draw things they can push and pull. The Family Connection letter home provides tips and activities to build healthy habits at home, such as to share a crayon to draw a picture or to glue Q-tips to construction paper to create a skeleton. The letter asks that parents talk with their child about things the parent does to relax and fall asleep when they have trouble sleeping or are not feeling tired. Parents can also talk about some of their favorite foods from when they were a child and how their tastes have changed. The letter recommends books to check out from the public library and provides talking points, such as, “While reading Dentist, talk with your child about what happens at the dentist’s office. The dentist might tap your teeth to check for cavities. Can you show me how to brush your teeth? Why is it important to visit the dentist?” Parents discuss the book Sheep Take a Hike and the importance of exercise. Parents ask, “Why do you think hiking is good exercise? What gear do you need to take a hike? Why? Do you think the sheep are good hikers?”
The materials reference The Calm Body Book in Units 1, 2, 6, and 7. This child-friendly book contains various calming strategies for children to practice with teacher support to calm their body when they feel sad, angry, lonely, upset, or excited. In Unit 1, the book Jordan’s Day is read to the children so they can “explore and discuss how emotions can change throughout the day in different situations.” In the book, Jordan feels various emotions, such as being upset. Jordan resolves these emotions by visualizing himself as different animals. For example, when he felt upset, “he imagined himself as a glorious hawk, swooping down into the plains or gliding across the sky.” Imagining this helped him feel relaxed.
In Unit 1, materials allow students to explore healthy habits of brushing teeth and going to bed in time to get sufficient sleep. They learn about these habits hands-on during center time. Teachers are guided to model these routines. Teachers then are guided to play with students to show this routine.
In Unit 2, materials provide calm down strategies that connect to the child’s body. For example, the teacher teaches deep breathing strategies. The teacher says, “I am going to count to 3. While I am counting, I want you to breathe in through your nose. Say 1, 2, 3. Now let the air out. Taking deep breaths can help you calm down. When things happen that make you feel strong emotions, you can control how you feel by sitting still and taking deep breaths.” In another lesson, children use The Calm Body Book to learn different yoga poses or positions to help them relax. The teacher says, “We are learning that some things make us upset. Sometimes we don’t get the toy we want. We need to learn to control our emotions and calm our bodies.” After trying some poses, the teacher follows up by asking, “What was your favorite pose? During yoga, we take long, deep breaths. Today, we will practice breathing and some yoga positions!”
In Unit 4, a “Morning Meeting” focuses on safe introductions. After a brief introduction about what it means to be safe, the teacher asks the students to show a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down to indicate whether it is okay to introduce themselves to someone. For example, “You are riding your bike near your house. A stranger asks your name. Should you introduce yourself?”
The materials include one unit that explicitly focuses on personal health and safety for students, Unit 6; the focus is on Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds. Weekly topics are “The Human Body,” “My Healthy Body,” “I Like Me! All About Positive Self-Esteem,” and “How I Stay Healthy and Safe.” Students learn about the parts of the body and two body systems (digestive and muscular); healthy habits such as exercise, eating well, dental care, and positive self-esteem; how doctors and dentists keep us healthy; and how to keep our bodies safe, including bike and pedestrian safety. One lesson during which the teacher models safe and healthy habits uses the book How Do Dinosaurs Stay Safe? Before reading, the teacher introduces the book and says, “Today we are going to read a book about staying safe. The title is How Do Dinosaurs Stay Safe? I bet you already know some ways to stay safe. Let’s list them!” During the story, the teacher explains safety habits, prompts student thinking, and asks questions, such as “Why is it not safe to jump on the bed?” After reading, the teacher facilitates a conversation discussing safe versus unsafe; the teacher says, “Let’s talk about what is safe and what is unsafe or not safe. We are going to work in groups to sort pictures. We are going to sort them into two groups, safe or unsafe. Let’s do one together.”
Most of the lessons include specific guidance on how to model healthy habits. In Unit 6, a “Journal/Author’s Chair” activity includes creating a list of healthy foods. The teacher models this by writing a list of her favorite foods. During gross motor activities, the teacher is encouraged to model cardio exercises such as running in place. The materials provide sample dialogue for center activities. In a weekly unit about positive self-esteem, four out of the five Morning Meetings target positive affirmations. For this activity, the teacher rolls a die which contains “I am” statements, such as “I am good at …. I am a good friend because …. I am proud of ….” The materials instruct the teacher: “Roll the die. Read the statement. Select a child to complete the statement.” The lesson does not include guidance for the teacher to model a positive affirmation statement prior to the children doing so. Another lesson teaches traffic safety through a gross motor game. Health habits are also addressed in Morning Meeting. During this time, many health habits are addressed; for example, they discuss getting enough sleep and fire safety.
In Unit 6, a small group activity focuses on sorting items based on whether the item is okay to share with others or not. In the lesson, the teacher says, “We don’t share food. Let’s put food on our chart. In the classroom, it’s okay not to share items that go in our mouth, like food.” The lesson encourages the teacher to remind children who put items in their mouths during centers, “We don’t share things that go in the mouth. You are going to clean the toy so it can be shared with others.” One Unit 6 “question of the day” focuses on talking about different types of exercise. The teacher discusses with the children, “What is exercise? Why is it important to exercise?” The children have an opportunity to tell which way to exercise is their favorite.
In Unit 6, center activities encourage children to identify safe and healthy habits. For example, children cook healthy foods in the “Dramatic Play” center. The teacher is encouraged to ask children to explain why healthy foods are important. For example, the teacher pretends not to like healthy food and states, “Yuck, I don’t like broccoli! Why should I eat broccoli?” The materials suggest toothbrush painting in the “Art Easel” center. The teacher talks about healthy oral hygiene habits with children and uses paint and a toothbrush to demonstrate how to brush teeth. The teacher says, “When we brush our teeth, we should use careful circular motions. We can hum a song to keep track of how long we’ve been brushing.”
In Unit 10, the teacher models using the “Feelings Poster” to make a decision about student writing during Journal time. The teacher thinks aloud, saying, “I wonder if Zelda was happy that her friends wouldn’t help her?” The teacher points to happy on the poster. “No, I don’t think she felt happy. Maybe, sad. I think she felt sad because none of her friends would help her get to space. I am going to write sad.” After the read-aloud “I’m Gonna Like Me,” the teacher models how to play a self-esteem game. The teacher draws a card and explains, “My cards have questions. You are going to pick a card and answer the question!” Questions include “Name something you do well.” “What is your favorite song?” “Describe a time you were brave.”
A “Calming Space Manual” guides teachers to redirect students in a positive manner regarding unhealthy habits and practices and develop a connection between physical and mental health. In one lesson, the teacher is guided to say, “Corey told us he knew he was upset because his neck didn’t feel good. He also said that he had a frown on his face. Show me a frown (model). He said that his heart was beating fast, and he cried. Have any of you ever had a feeling like this?
Corey said we should go to the Calming Space. Let’s walk to our Calming Space together. What did Corey say we should do next? Second, he said we should take deep breaths. Model taking deep breaths. Now you try. Third, he said that he relaxes his body. He told us that he knows he is relaxed because his body is like a spaghetti noodle. Watch how I relax my body. Model. Now you try.” In other lessons, students learn to belly breathe by putting a block on their stomachs and moving it up and down as they breathe and use a calming bottle.
The materials provide guidance on developing students’ listening skills through modeling active listening for understanding; support and scaffold daily opportunities for students to listen for understanding; provide opportunities for students to hear sounds, appropriate sentence structure, and grammar; and provide opportunities for students to hear conversations that follow conversation norms. This is accomplished through non-verbal cues, teacher think-alouds, provided teacher scripts, and teacher modeling.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, the materials provide teacher guidance on modeling and daily opportunities to participate in active listening for understanding in a variety of contexts. During a “Morning Meeting,” the teacher explains to students why it is important to be a good listener. The materials direct the teacher to say, “We can use our bodies to show we are being good listeners. When someone is talking, you should look at them. Looking at someone when they are talking lets them know you hear what they are saying.” The teacher practices with the students: “1, 2, 3, all eyes on me. When you hear this, you should say ‘1, 2, eyes on you’ and then look at me.” The materials direct the teacher to use this phrase consistently throughout the day and week. A read-aloud of the book Listening Lane targets appropriate ways to listen and play together with peers. Before reading the book, the teacher explains to the students that they will discuss ways that Lee showed he was listening. The teacher shows page 4 of Listening Lane and then says, “Look. Everyone look at me. Now I know you are being good listeners! Another way to show we are being good listeners is to wait our turn to talk. Only one person can talk at a time. You have to wait for your turn to talk, just like you have to wait for your turn to play with a toy.” Students play a conversation game by taking turns with a talking stick; they discuss their favorite center at school during the week and then pass the stick to a peer to allow the peer to have a turn. In a flexible small group lesson focused on active listening, the materials direct the teacher to introduce the lesson with a game of telephone, modeling to students how to show others they are listening. The teacher says, “One way to show we are listening is to look at the person talking, just like you are looking at me now. Another way to show we are listening is to face your body to the person talking. We can also nod and say nice words.” The teacher then models and uses words like yes, okay, and really.
In Unit 3, students explore the construction process, starting with a plan, and ending with a complete structure. Mainstream public texts such as Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site incorporate appropriate sentence structure and grammar as well as repetition, predictable patterns, and use of rhyme to support listening. As the teacher reads the book, each vehicle that is addressed concludes with the repetitive phrase “Shhh…. Goodnight …, goodnight.”
In Unit 5, during a Morning Meeting, the teacher models how to ask to play with others. The teacher begins by asking the children, “What questions can we ask our peers if we want to play?” The students play the game “Roll With Me” to practice asking to play. The teacher models how to play: “Can I roll the ball with you?” The team member responds, “Yes.” The teacher then gives the children a turn. The teacher puts children in groups of four to five and selects a child to sit with the ball. The first child in line asks a peer to play. This continues until each child in line joins the play. When all children are rolling the ball, the game is finished. The activity concludes with the teacher reminding the students, “Just like in the game, if you want to play with a peer, you need to ask!” During another Morning Meeting activity, “Outside, Inside, Whisper,” the teacher shares seven different scenarios for which the children need to state whether they use an outside voice, a calm inside voice, or a whisper voice. Some scenarios include nap time in the classroom, playing on the playground, and answering questions during a “Read-Aloud.” During a large group read-aloud of The Magic Drum, the teacher asks various questions, providing the children with multiple opportunities to listen and respond. Before reading the book, the teacher draws attention to the picture on the cover and asks, “What do we think might happen in the story?” The teacher records children’s responses to this question on chart paper. Before reading The Magic Drum, the teacher opens to pages 15–16 and asks, “Where do you think the story takes place? What do you see in the picture that gives you a clue?” After the reading, the teacher notes to the children, “We made a lot of predictions about The Magic Drum. Were any of our predictions correct?”
In Unit 7, students explore animals and their habitats. Texts include publisher-created readers such as Coyote and Rabbit. In this story, a grammatically correct conversation is modeled, as Coyote stops and discusses what each animal would do if they were tricked. After the read-aloud, the materials direct the teacher to say, “In the story, Coyote had to make a decision. A decision is a choice you have to make. Say, ‘decision.’ Spotted Owl recommended that Coyote ‘Stop, Think, and Act’ before he made a choice to solve his problem. Let’s talk more about each step.” In this unit, students also hear and practice quality conversations about animals and habits. Lessons provide conversation modeling in a variety of classroom settings. For example, in centers, the materials include facilitation guides that provide questions for the teacher to ask students in order to expand their learning and comprehension. In the “Writing” center, the teacher makes blue gel sensory bags in which children can write the letters of their name. The teacher says, “What does the blue gel remind you of? It reminds me of water! How does the gel move when you push on it? What happens to water if you try to touch or push it? What do you think the gel feels like?” In the “Art Studio,” children make puppets of animals in the rainforest. After children make their puppets, the teacher facilitates peer-to-peer conversations by setting the scene in a rainforest. The teacher says, “My name is Sly the Snake. What’s yours? Where do you live? I live in the rainforest too! I love to slither or slide along tree branches!”
Many activities in Unit 9 support listening development. For example, a Morning Meeting in this unit considers the question “What is Earth?” The provided script for the teacher begins, “Earth is the name of the planet we live on. Say, ‘Earth.’ What do you know about Earth?” As the children respond to this question, the teacher records their responses. The teacher posts a list of the children’s responses in the “Construction Zone” center so the children can refer to it while planning and building the Earth. During a Read-Aloud, the teacher reads the book Here We Are. The materials provide guidance for the teacher to elaborate on the book; for example, the materials direct the teacher to say, “Our Earth is made of two parts — land and water. Land is the solid dry part of the Earth’s surface. Say, ‘land.’” After the reading, the materials direct the teacher to ask, “What is the name of the planet we live on?” and “What are the two main parts of the Earth?”
The materials provide guidance on developing students’ speaking skills through opportunities to practice producing sounds and use appropriate sentence structure and grammar in a variety of contexts; provide teacher guidance on corrective feedback of students’ speech production, sentence structure, and grammar; and provide support and guidance for students to work collaboratively to engage in discussion using conversation norms. There are numerous occasions for these events during “Morning Meetings,” “Read-Alouds,” open-ended questioning, and critical thinking opportunities.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Flexible Small Group Plans” provide clear guidance for teachers on appropriate ways to support developmentally appropriate speech production, sentence structure, and grammar. For example, the “Language” domain contains a unit that focuses on conversation. In the Tier 1 lesson “Adjectives — Colorful Words,” the target is for children to “respond to prompts about colors and to use color words in context” by completing the sentence, “The … is ….” The materials direct the teacher to say, “Today, we are going to be looking at things of different colors. I want you to tell me the color of each item using a sentence.” After the introduction, the teacher models the activity for the children. After the teacher models the activity, the children practice, and the teacher provides prompts such as “Which toy is …?” and “What color is this …?” The students respond in a complete sentence: “The … is ….” If the student does not use a complete sentence, the materials direct the teacher to state the correct answer and have the child repeat.
The Flexible Small Group Plans include lessons for children to identify rhyming words in nursery rhymes. The materials provide the poem “Star Light” and direct the teacher to say, “I heard some words that sound the same at the end. The words that end in ‘-ight’! Light, bright.” The teacher is directed to use hand motions as kinesthetic support: “Put hands in front with palms facing down. Turn over the right-hand palm as you say, ‘light.’ Turn over the left-hand palm as you say, ‘bright.’” The teacher reads the poem a second time while students use these hand motions for each rhyming pair while verbally identifying the words.
In the Flexible Small Group Plans, there is a social lesson that provides guidance for conversation norms. For example, the teacher models the use of self-control to wait one’s turn to talk. The materials direct the teacher to say, “Now, I’m going to show you what interrupting looks like. Tell me about your favorite place to go.” The teacher allows the child to talk for a little bit and then interrupts the student. The teacher says, “Uh oh! I interrupted. That means I didn’t give you a turn to talk. That wasn’t very nice. Let’s try that again. Tell me about your favorite place to go.” The teacher waits until the child is finished sharing and models good listening skills.
In Unit 1, students work collaboratively, engaging in discussions as they become acquainted with classroom rules procedures. Theme-related centers support peer-to-peer conversations with conversational prompts provided by the teacher. For example, in the “Construction Zone,” children build a library and use toy people to act out the process of checking out a book. The material provides conversational prompts such as “Hi, my name is …, and I am the librarian. Can I help you find a book today? Would you like to check out that book? Great, let me help.”
In Unit 3, materials provide opportunities for students to practice sound production and appropriate sentence structure in a variety of contexts through small and large group instruction. Lessons include Morning Meeting, “Centers Facilitation,” and a gross motor lesson. In a large group Morning Meeting, students play a game called “Wonder Circle.” After the teacher demonstrates how to play, students gather in a circle and take turns, saying, “My name is …. I am a wonder. This is how I am special.” Then students show a unique dance move or movement. In a small group, during centers, the materials direct the teacher to ask questions and model. For example, in the “Art Studio,” children sculpt a building out of clay and paint it. The teacher asks the students to tell about the building that has been created.
In Unit 4, the materials utilize both small and large group settings to facilitate oral language activities. During a flexible small group lesson, students practice using complete sentences to introduce themselves to others. For example, the teacher instructs students to say, “Hi, my name is …. What is your name?” Students pause for the peer to respond with a complete sentence, such as “It’s nice to meet you.” Students pair up with one another and practice introductions, switching roles, so each child gets to initiate and ask a question. During a large group Morning Meeting lesson, students continue to practice introducing themselves to peers.
In Unit 5, during a read-aloud of the book Feast for 10, the teacher reads the title of the book and defines the word feast. The materials direct the teacher to say, “A feast is a large meal. A feast has lots of food and lots of people. Say, ‘feast.’” During the read-aloud, the teacher stops at designated points in the story to draw attention to vocabulary words. For example, for the word ripe, the teacher says, “Look at the ripe, or ready to eat, tomatoes.” After the reading, the teacher encourages students to use vocabulary words to answer questions about the story. In the “Writing” center, children are encouraged to write to a pen pal. The materials direct that the center include materials such as blank paper, a variety of writing tools, and envelopes. The lesson encourages the teacher to talk with the children about their writing: “Tell me about your letter. Did you write about your family? Can you describe your family to your pen pal? What else could you write about?”
In Unit 7, the materials provide for the practice of sounds, sentence structure, and grammar across different settings within the thematic unit, including through songs, center development, “Author’s Chair,” and selected books.. The materials provide a journal prompt every day, followed by an Author’s Chair, where children take turns sharing their written ideas with the class. Some journal prompts include “What is your favorite animal in the book, Hello Hello? Why is…your favorite animal? Have you ever seen a …? Where?” Three Read-Aloud lessons use the book The Rainforest Grew All Around and incorporate rhyme, predictive text, repetition, and movements to help produce sounds.
In Unit 9, the materials provide guidance and opportunities for children to practice and use oral language for authentic purposes. For example, the materials direct that the Dramatic Play center be converted into a flower shop. The materials direct the teacher to say, “Tell me about your flower arrangement. What flowers did you use? What colors are in your arrangement?” A journal prompt in this unit asks, “What landform would you like to see on Earth?” The teacher models how to complete the prompt. The material directs the teacher to say, “I would like to see a mountain. I am going to write about and draw a mountain on my paper.” The teacher then conferences with the children. The teacher shows the children pictures of landforms and talks with them about different landforms to provide inspiration before the students begin writing.
The materials support expanding student vocabulary through a progression of development that is age and sequentially appropriate. The materials also include a variety of strategies for strategically supporting vocabulary development that are integrated and authentically embedded in content-based learning. Every thematic unit contains a list of core vocabulary words and has additional vocabulary words built into lessons, small groups, and centers.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include strategies for supporting vocabulary development through the use of a five-step vocabulary process, outlined in the “Every Child Ready Texas User Manual,” that is utilized, in whole or in part, each time a new vocabulary word is introduced. The process directs the teacher to say the word, provide a child-friendly definition with visual support when possible, have children repeat the word, provide an example and/or non-example, and prompt children to use the new word in a familiar context or apply it to a new context. For example, in the flexible small group vocabulary lesson “Guessing Game,” the teacher reads the story, Who’s in a Family. Prior to reading this story, the teacher introduces the vocabulary words family, different, oldest, female. The materials direct the teacher: “State the words a second time, having children repeat after you. Turn to the pages of the book that show these adjectives and nouns and show the children.” The teacher encourages the children to raise their hands during the reading when they hear one of these vocabulary words.
In Unit 1, students learn age-appropriate vocabulary in connection with classroom routines and procedures. The “Core Vocabulary” for this unit includes Art Easel, Art Studio, Construction Zone, Dramatic Play, Emotions, Investigation Location, Library Center, share, sign, trade, and Writing Center. An example of an age-appropriate definition given for the word trade is “when you exchange something you have for something that someone else has.” The materials provide vocabulary that consists of both high-frequency words and new words. For example, in a Morning Meeting lesson, the vocabulary includes watching and listening. The materials direct the teacher to say, “I can tell you are ready to start Morning Meeting because your eyes are watching me (point to eyes) and you are listening (point to ears).”
In Unit 2, the materials provide meaningful ways for children to interact with and use new vocabulary words in context. There is a small group lesson called “I Spy,” where children identify and describe target vocabulary words when prompted. The materials direct the teacher to say, “We are going to play I Spy. We are going to use this telescope to spy or look at our vocabulary words. We are going to give each other clues so everyone can guess what we see. Watch me. I spy something that a teacher gives you. Who knows what it is?” Children take turns looking at the pictures, and the teacher guides them to use new vocabulary. The lesson can be carried out all day when the teacher says “I Spy?” and gives clues like “What is white and sticky?”
In Unit 5, the materials provide ways for children to interact with new vocabulary words. Children learn vocabulary words such as stamp, passport, and country. During a Morning Meeting, the teacher reads a poem about passports. Prior to reading the poem, the materials direct the teacher to say, “Today we are going to read a new poem about passports. A passport is a small book used to travel to other countries. Say, ‘passport.’ When you use your passport, you get a stamp.” The teacher reinforces vocabulary in the “Dramatic Play” center that is converted into a travel agency. The children explain where they will be traveling to, and the materials direct the teacher to point to the passport and ask, “Is this a passport or a ticket?” Vocabulary is also reinforced in the “Writing” center, where children create passports. The materials direct the teacher to pretend to stamp children’s passports and say, “After you talk to me about where you’d like to travel, I’ll stamp your passport!”
In Unit 8, the materials include meaningful ways within centers for children to interact with and use new vocabulary words. For example, in the “Art Studio,” students create dinosaur masks. The provided vocabulary includes armor, dinosaur, extinct, mask, plates, and spikes. In “Art Easel,” students paint with mud. The provided vocabulary includes clay, clump, dirt, mud, silt, smooth, soil, and water. The materials direct the teacher to model vocabulary through conversations and asking questions, such as “How does the mud feel? Is it thick or thin? Does it have clumps, or is it smooth? Do you think mud works the same as paint? Do you think you can paint with sand or silt? Why or why not?”
In Unit 9, the materials have a balance of high-frequency vocabulary and new and rare words. For example, in this unit, the core vocabulary words are cloud, continent, Earth, garbage, map, ocean, plains, pollution, recycle, seed, and world. The materials provide suggestions to scaffold teacher talk, so children hear new words in familiar routines and conversations. For example, during a Morning Meeting, the teacher defines the word map for the students. The teacher shows the students a map of the United States and points to where they live. Then, the teacher sketches a map of the area around the school for the children. During center activities, the teacher continues to encourage the use of the word map. The Writing center is converted into a map-making center. The teacher assists the children to draw and label a map in this center and asks, “What would you like to put on your map?”
In Unit 10, the materials provide a number of strategies to model a wide variety of rich and rare vocabulary words. For example, the Dramatic Play center is set up as an air and space museum. Pictures of the planets are provided, and suggested props include rocks, boots, a space helmet, a telescope, name tags, and writing tools. The materials direct the teacher to model using new vocabulary with questions such as “What is a telescope? Can you point to a planet? What is a spacesuit? Why do you think astronauts wear space suits?” There is also a gross motor activity during which the students pass a ball around and name something in space.
The materials include appropriate strategies for supporting English Learners (ELs) in their development of English language skills and developmentally appropriate content knowledge. The “Every Child Ready Texas User Manual” includes “Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach” (CALLA) strategies and “Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol” (SIOP) best practices but does not provide guidance on what they are or how to effectively incorporate them into the lessons. Other than the “Dual Language Learner” lessons, no material is specifically dedicated to English Learners. The materials provide “Family Connection” resources in English, Spanish, and Amharic. The resources are in the form of a unit overview letter and weekly homework activities. These resources are the only parts of the materials that address a home language.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide the Every Child Ready Texas User Manual, which notes various strategies available within the materials that educators can use to support ELs. Among these strategies are CALLA strategies, which are embedded within thematic and small group lessons. CALLA strategies include visualization, using background knowledge, asking questions, resourcing, note-taking, imagery, and cooperation. Other strategies noted in the Every Child Ready Texas User Manual to support ELs include using print materials, such as visuals of key content related to various concepts. These can include classroom routine visuals, math picture cards, and non-verbal checks for understanding using thumbs-up/thumbs-down cards. According to the User Manual, these supports can be used with and without access to dedicated English Learner specialists. CALLA strategies and SIOP best practices are embedded within thematic and small group lessons, making them accessible for ELs at any given point. These strategies, however, are not explicitly defined, and examples are not provided in the thematic curriculum.
The materials contain a number of lessons to support ELs. The lessons employ learning strategies, such as cognitive and metacognitive strategies, to develop vocabulary. For example, in a “Dual Language Learner” lesson, the target is the use of the language pattern “This is the …” to describe family members. The materials direct the teacher to “apply prior knowledge of families and family structures to learn the English vocabulary for the family member.” The materials direct the teacher to model sign language for vocabulary words such as mother. The teacher says, “Mother. This is the mother. In Sign Language, I can say mother by putting my hand to my chin like this.” The materials do not, however, provide support for teachers to identify the importance of developing children’s vocabulary in their first language as well as English.
In many of the Weeks 1–5 Dual Language Learner lessons, quality photographs are used to help children develop their understanding of new vocabulary. For example, in the lesson “Classroom Actions A,” a printable “Class Action Images” document is available under the “Materials” section of the lesson. These images include quality photographs of children performing actions in a classroom (e.g., stand up, sit down, share, line up, clean up, and trade). A cognitive learning strategy is utilized in this lesson: the use of physical modeling and visuals to understand vocabulary. During the lesson, the teacher models the actions on the photographs while showing the children the pictures. The materials direct the teacher to use self-talk and the language phrase “Please, ….” The teacher says, “Please stand up. I am standing up. Now, please sit down. I sat down!”
In Unit 1, the materials provide strategies for children to build upon their home language while becoming familiar with classroom rules and procedures. For example, in a “Read-Aloud” lesson, the book Up, Down, Around, and Through contains illustrations of a child playing on familiar playground structures, such as a slide, tunnel, and a merry-go-round. The book also uses simple text, such as “Up the steps, down the slide.” After the story, children move a teddy bear up and down, following the teacher’s verbal directions. Downward differentiation includes focusing on one positional word, such as down. In a Morning Meeting, the teacher previews some of the books children will read during the week. One book is One Word At a Time. During the introduction, the materials direct the teacher to say, “Say, ‘English.’ English is the language we speak at school. Some of us speak English at home, and some of us speak another language. Can you raise your hand if you speak another language at home?” The teacher explains, “This book is about a little girl, Maria Teresa, who is learning English. After we are done reading, we will talk about what she did in her classroom to help her.” The book incorporates phrases in Spanish and depicts how the character learns English. The teacher explains, “Maria speaks Spanish. She doesn’t speak a lot of English yet, so she didn’t understand what the teacher was saying, but she could watch or peek at her peers for help. Pictures help Maria learn English. She can look at the picture and say the English word, so she knows what she is learning about.”
In Unit 7, the materials provide a variety of strategies to address the needs of ELs, such as visual supports, nonverbal responses, and peer and teacher modeling of the English language. One of the read-aloud books is Giraffes Can’t Dance. There are three supplemental lessons specifically for ELs that address this book. The materials provide visual pictures of the vocabulary words within these lessons. The teacher introduces the book, reviews vocabulary, and says, “Before we read the book, I want to talk about some new words.” The teacher places the first word on the table in front of the children. The teacher says, “Bow. Say, ‘bow.’” The materials provide a definition of bow, and this process repeats for each vocabulary word. The materials recognize that children may be in the silent phase of language acquisition and remind the teacher that those students “will be able to listen to good language models, such as teacher and peers in the lesson.” The teacher shows the cover of the book and activates prior knowledge by asking, “Hmm, have you seen anything in this picture before? Have you heard me read this book before?” The teacher demonstrates connections to the text by matching the vocabulary card with the vocabulary word in the story and then places the photograph of the word next to the relevant image in the illustration.
In Unit 10, the material provides thematic learning to support ELs in making connections to new words. The CALLA strategies for this unit include note-taking, prior knowledge, visualization, and resourcing. The teacher prepares students to read the book A Voyage to Space; picture cards are used to demonstrate the lesson. The teacher says, “Before we read the book, I want to talk about some new words.” The teacher places the first word on the table in front of the children. The teacher says, “Star. Say, ‘star.’” The teacher repeats this process for each word. The materials direct the teacher to highlight the vocabulary words children are learning while reading the book. Children repeat the vocabulary words after the teacher reads them in the story.
The materials support active listening and discussions about books through well-scripted lessons that activate the child’s prior learning. The materials support student understanding of the book through scaffolded comprehension questions and set a purpose for listening. Materials provide consistent opportunities for students to engage in discussions that require students to share information and ideas about the texts as well as work collaboratively across the thematic units, utilizing multiple read-alouds of the same text, class discussions, and the application of concepts facilitated in learning centers.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, the teacher reads the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to the students during large group read-alouds. For the second read-aloud of the book, the materials direct the teacher to ask questions after almost every two pages of reading. For example, after reading pages 10–11, the teacher asks, “Oh no! What is going to happen next to the letters of the alphabet?” The materials also direct the teacher to encourage the students to chime in with “boom, boom” to contribute to the reading of the story.
In Unit 2, the materials provide the book Who’s in a Family? for a “Read-Aloud” lesson. After reading the story, the teacher asks, “Who is in your family?” and “What activities do you do with your family?” and records answers to the questions using a word web. During the next reading of the book, the children discuss who cares for them and graph the number of family members in their house. During the last reading of the book, the teacher asks questions about what activities the students like to do with their families, such as “You like to go to the park with your family. Who do you go with? How do you get there? What do you do at the park?”
In Unit 5, the materials provide Read-Aloud lessons that include response-driven questions to check for understanding and ensure active listening as well as open-ended questions to support oral language development. In the read-aloud of The Canyon, the materials direct the teacher to ask, “What is a howl?” “What is an avalanche?” “Why did Coyote howl so long and loud?” Children apply these lessons in the “Dramatic Play,” “Writing,” and “Library” centers by creating their own folktales and sharing them in a small group setting.
In Unit 6, the materials provide the book The Doctor for a Read-Aloud lesson. Before reading the book, the teacher says, “I wonder why he has to visit the doctor? Maybe he needs medicine?” After reading the book, the materials direct the teacher to ask, “Who is this? What is a doctor? Why did the boy in the book have to see the doctor? Have you ever been sick like that before? How did you feel?” The materials provide “Center Facilitation Guides,” which direct the teacher to place books about personal safety in the Library center. The “Center Facilitation Guide” leads the teacher to encourage children to look at the pictures in the book and ask students questions about the books in the center; for example, “What do you see in the pictures? How can the pictures help us learn about staying safe?” In another Read-Aloud lesson, the teacher reads Buddy the Bear. The objective of reading this book is for children to demonstrate an understanding of sharing and taking turns. After reading the book, the children play a game called “Egg Share” to practice sharing and trading. In this game, each child gets a plastic egg that is two different colors. Students need to share and trade with a peer to make their egg one color. The materials direct the teacher to model how they will ask a peer for the part of the egg they need. Students say, “(peer’s name), can I have your blue egg bottom?”
In Unit 9, the materials direct the teacher, during read-alouds, to ask questions before, during, and after reading. Responses are mostly choral, or the teacher calls on individual students. Scripted Read-Aloud lessons do not provide the opportunity for students to discuss ideas of the text during or immediately after. For example, after reading Lots and Lots of Zebra Stripes, children break into groups to make their own two-color pattern. Children must collaborate and explain their reasoning to make a successful pattern. After sharing, the children ask the rest of the class, “What comes next?” During another follow-up activity, students collaborate during a gross motor lesson to create a movement pattern with colored pieces of paper and their bodies. The teacher breaks students into smaller groups and allows time for students to discuss the pattern they wish to create. Once students agree upon their pattern, they share it with the class.
In Unit 10, the materials provide the book Working in Space for a Read-Aloud lesson. After reading the book, the teacher prompts the children, “Let’s use our vocabulary words to ask questions. If you could ask the astronauts in this book one question about space, what would you ask?” As the teacher asks questions, the materials provide opportunities for students to listen actively and ask questions of their own.
In Unit 10, the materials direct for the Library center to be converted into “Exploring Constellations.” The center materials listed for the Library center include fiction and non-fiction books about stars and constellations, paper, and writing tools. The teacher asks children to use descriptive language to share and describe some of the things they’ve learned; for example, “What did you observe or see in the books? Tell me more. What did … look like? What other things did you see on the page?”
Materials follow the research-based developmental continuum of how children acquire phonological awareness as evidenced in the unit and small group scope and sequence in the “Every Child Ready Texas User Manual.” Materials provide a variety of activities to engage students in identifying, synthesizing, and analyzing sounds, such as small group, large group, and student-centered instruction utilizing a variety of visuals and manipulatives to make the concept concrete. Materials allow for student practice of phonological awareness skills both in isolation and connected to alphabetic knowledge skills. Phonological awareness is focused on during “Morning Meeting” and flexible small groups and is sometimes embedded in other parts of the daily routine. Lesson plans for direct instruction on phonological awareness are provided. Lesson plans include movement activities, activities that include manipulatives, and listening activities.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In the Every Child Ready Texas User Manual, a prekindergarten scope and sequence is provided showcasing the progress of phonological awareness throughout the curriculum, starting with syllabication (Units 1, 2, and 3), rhyming words (Unit 4), compound words (Unit 5), phonemes (Units 6, 7, and 8), and initial and final sounds (Units 9 and 10). Phonological awareness is addressed through flexible small group lessons, which provide an in-depth overview of the skill, when and how to progress, a weekly scope and sequence of the skill, upward and downward extensions for each lesson, and evaluation of data to determine if the child is ready to continue to the next skill. Phonological skills are addressed through unit lessons, typically in Morning Meetings. For instance, syllabication is reviewed during various Morning Meetings in Units 1, 2, and 3.
The “Flexible Small Group Plans” include 15 Tier 1 phoneme lessons. In Lessons 1–6, the target is for students to blend and segment onset-rimes to form a word. In Lessons 7–9, the target is for students to hear and count phonemes in words. In Lessons 10–12, the target is for children to blend phonemes together to form a word. In Lessons 13–15, the target is for students to separate words into phonemes. In the introduction to Tier 1 Phonemes, the materials note, “The lessons offer support with visuals and kinesthetic activities.” For example, in an activity targeting segmenting onset and rime in -at and -un words, the teacher gives each child two linking cubes. Children pull apart the cubes as they hear the sounds in the word. The teacher uses words such as hat, pat, bun, and fun for this activity. In another lesson, children play a kinesthetic blending game. In this game, the children stand in line with their backs to the teacher. The teacher says the sounds in a word. The children listen and blend the sounds together in their heads. When they think they know the word, they turn around.
In Unit 4, during a Morning Meeting lesson about rhyming words, the materials direct the teacher to say, “Let’s practice thinking of words that rhyme. That means our words sound the same at the end. ‘Clay’ and ‘say’ rhyme. Can you think of any other words that rhyme with ‘clay?’” A flexible small group lesson develops the auditory ability to hear and identify rhyme. The materials direct the teacher to say, “Today, we will find which word rhymes with the first!” Pictures are used to assist students. The teacher shows the note picture. “This is a note. Say, ‘note.’ I hear the -ote at the end of the word.” The teacher then shows pictures of tea, boat, and hat. The teacher asks, “Which word rhymes with ‘note?’”
In Unit 5, the teacher introduces compound words in a Morning Meeting lesson. The teacher models combining two words to make a compound word with visual pictures of pan and cake to create pancake. Next, the students start with the compound word football, and the teacher asks what two words the students hear (foot and ball). Students then extend their learning in “Investigation Location” and guess the compound word using a file folder visual puzzle. Two weeks later, students use the same file folder visual puzzles to practice elision with words such as snowball. The teacher says, “Yes, it’s snowball. Hmm, I wonder, what is ‘snowball’ without ‘snow?’” Students engage in the activity independently or with a small group of peers in the center. Students then play “Simon Says” with compound word elision. For example, the teacher says, “I will give you a direction like Simon says, say ‘pancake’ without ‘cake.’ If you take ‘cake’ from ‘pancake,’ we have ‘pan.’ That means you’d say, ‘pan.’ Pancake without ‘cake’ is ‘pan.’”
In Unit 6, two of the five Morning Meetings include an activity in which the target is for children to blend onset and rime for two-phoneme words. For this activity, the teacher shows the students pictures of theme-related two-phoneme words. The provided teacher script notes to use pictures, for example, of a foot and hair. The teacher begins by modeling the activity for the students: “Let me show you how to blend the parts of words! My word is ‘nose.’ In the word ‘nose,’ I hear two parts, /n/ -ose. I can blend the two parts to make a word. Repeat faster and faster, blending the two sounds.” Then, the students have the opportunity to blend theme-related two-phoneme words.
In Unit 7, students practice blending phonemes to form words. For example, at Morning Meeting, the teacher says, “I’m going to push a button as I say each sound in the word ‘cat,’ /c/ /a/ /t/. Now you try! Now, let’s blend or put the sounds together to make a word. Touch the buttons as you make the sound, each time moving toward blending the word. /c/ /a/ /t/, /c/ /a/ /t/, cat!” This is repeated using different words.
In Unit 8, the afternoon read-aloud is Saturday Night at the Dinosaurs Stomp. The teacher says, “Let’s practice separating or breaking apart words into phonemes or sounds! I am going to say the word and then break it apart into sounds. You are going to try it after me! Touch your arm as you make each sound. Rock. /R/ /o/ /ck/. /R/ /o/ /ck/, rock. Try it with me. Rock. /R/ /o/ /ck/, /r/ /o/ /ck/, rock!” The lessons are incorporated in Morning Meetings and afternoon book read-alouds, and the teacher can add a lesson from the flexible small group lessons to target any skills needed to meet the needs of the class. The flexible small group lesson can provide directions for the teacher to set up a sound-rich environment.
In Unit 9, “Journal” prompts use initial sounds to connect to alphabetic knowledge skills such as listening to the initial sound in a word while children write about “How to Use a Map.” The teacher models hearing the initial sound of a word. The teacher says, “I can use a map to learn about my neighborhood. Let’s listen for the beginning sound of my word. /N/ /n/neighborhood. The first sound I hear is /n/. What letter makes the /n/ sound? Write the letter N.” In a small group lesson focused on initial and final sounds, children use metacognition to hear and identify the beginning part of a word. The teacher leads the students in a game of “I Spy.” The materials guide the teacher to model the game by showing a picture card and identifying the initial sound of the card. The teacher says, “My first word is dog,” and taps the initial sound three times on her lap. “/D/ /d/ dog. The beginning sound in ‘dog’ is /d/.” Then the children look around the room for items that start with the sound /d/, like desk.
In Unit 10, during the activity “Pop, Pop, Popcorn!” children practice substituting the beginning sound of a word. For this activity, children hop as they say the words that are created when the initial sound is substituted. For example, the teacher changes the /p/ sound in pop to a /h/ sound and says, “If I change the beginning sound /p/ in ‘pop, pop popcorn’ to /h/, I will say, ‘hop, hop, hop-corn.’ Jump as you say each word. Hop-corn! That’s so silly!” The children do this activity changing the beginning sound to /t/, /s/, /g/, /n/, and /f/.
The materials follow a research-based, strategic sequence for the introduction of alphabetic knowledge as is outlined in the “Every Child Ready Texas User Manual” and the provided scope and sequence. The materials also provide teacher guidance on directly introducing, modeling, and using letter names and sounds throughout the unit lessons.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Every Child Ready Texas User Manual provides a letter knowledge scope and sequence and lists alphabetic knowledge lessons taught in the units. The target skills are letters in the children’s own name, letter identification, letter sounds, letter writing, and name writing. The scope and sequence give the teacher a guide to follow to make sure they are covering all of the letters. All of the alphabetic knowledge skills are taught in every unit throughout the school year, as verified in the letter knowledge scope and sequence chart. In the small group letter lessons, materials provide an overview of key components of the research-based program. For example, the materials explain: “The letters selected are based on the work of Dr. Lea McGee and should only be changed if children already know all the preceding letters. Her sequence should be followed for all 26 letters. For children who need mostly letter identification, please use this plan as-is. They should have letter identification with sounds.” The materials provide a variety of ways to practice letter sounds and awareness in flexible small group lessons. The teacher has the opportunity to add small group lessons to review alphabetic knowledge skills throughout the school year. For example, the materials provide a lesson where the students play a game of “Fishing.” The teacher says, “We are fishing for the letter ‘O.’ The letter ‘O’ makes the /o/ sound like in ‘octopus.’ Today, we are going to fish for the three letters we’ve learned! When you ‘catch’ a letter you are going to say its name and its sound.”
In Unit 1, a target skill is “Letters in Own Name.” During a Morning Meeting, children play a name-writing game. The teacher gives the children their name card, and the children practice writing their name by tracing the letters of their name on the card using their finger. The teacher models, and the children practice writing the letters of their name in the sky. After a read-aloud of the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, children play a movement game in which they create letters using their bodies.
In Unit 2, during the third read-aloud of Puppy, Please, Puppy, the teacher writes keywords from the text on chart paper. After the read-aloud, the teacher reviews letters A, R, and N and asks, “What letter is this? This is an ‘A.’ Say, ‘A.’ It has a slant line up, a slant line down, and a line across at the middle. Look at the words on my chart paper. Do you see any familiar letters? Let’s circle all the ‘A’s.’” The teacher then repeats the activity with the letters R and N.
In Unit 4, the materials direct the teacher to introduce two letters per week, following the scope and sequence. For example, children identify the letters and sounds C and O. The teacher says, “Today we are going to talk about the letters ‘C’ and ‘O.’ This is the letter ‘C.’ Say, ‘C.’ What letter is this? Yes, it’s a ‘C!’ ‘C’ makes the /k/ sound. Say, /k/.” This process is repeated for the letter O. The following day, the Morning Meeting learning activity list includes “Letters of the Week: C and O” but does not provide a script for how to address the letters’ names/sounds on this day. One gross motor lesson includes opportunities for students to interact with letters, where children make the letters of the unit with their bodies. The teacher models self talk while making the letters and says, “My letter is ‘T!’ I am putting my arms in the air and then holding them out to each side. My legs are together and straight.”
In Unit 6, during a “Journal” activity, children answer the question, “How would you feel if you thought you were falling apart?” The teacher models how to write uppercase letters during this activity. For example, materials direct the teacher to say, “I would feel scared. I hear the letter S at the beginning of scared. Hmm, I need help writing an S.” During a gross motor activity, the children play a game called “Freeze Dance.” The materials direct the teacher to put four uppercase letter cards on the floor. The teacher plays music, and the children dance or move their bodies. When the music stops, the children listen for a letter, find it on the floor, and freeze by it.
In Unit 8, students review uppercase letters in a gross motor lesson where they walk in a circle to music. When the music stops, the teacher shows them an uppercase letter; children must say the name of the letter, find it on the floor, and tap it with their foot. The teacher decides which letters to review based on data and highlights the letters around the classroom.
Materials provide direct instruction in print awareness and connect print awareness to books and texts through regular modeling of print awareness skills in small group lessons. Materials provide opportunities for students to develop an understanding of the everyday functions of print in context to the students’ experience at school, demonstrating the purpose of print throughout lessons and applying the relevant print throughout the daily classroom procedures and during centers. Materials include a sequence of foundational skills instruction and opportunities for sufficient student practice, incorporating print awareness activities with lessons across multiple units and within the designated small group lessons. Materials follow a developmentally appropriate continuum for the development of print awareness knowledge through small group lesson instruction and follow a developmentally appropriate continuum through journal prompts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In the “Every Child Ready Texas User Manual,” the materials provide a reading scope and sequence; book knowledge, book appreciation, and print awareness are addressed through small group lessons and in the early units. Flexible small group lessons on book appreciation address book knowledge and print awareness skills. For example, the materials explain the title of the book; reading left to right, top to bottom; and identifying the title, author, and illustrator. Lessons utilize read-alouds from unit texts that include introductions, questions, and prompts before, during, and after reading. In a lesson on how to hold the book correctly, the teacher sings a song to review the parts of the book that the children act out, first on their bodies and then on a book. For instance, the teacher sings, “The book’s back cover is on the back!” and children point to their own back; the second time, they point to the back of the book. The teacher models how to turn the pages carefully and uses a finger to follow words top to bottom and left to right. Children follow along, pointing at the text in their own book as the teacher reads the book.
In a flexible small group lesson about print awareness, the teacher reminds the students that they have been talking about print, which is “talk written down.” The teacher shows students an alphabet book and says, “Today, I will read the book, and we will look at each letter and words that the letters make when they come together.” The teacher reads the book, with a child pointing to a letter, saying the name of a letter, and then pointing to an illustration and a word. In another flexible small group lesson that targets matching print with a visual of its meaning, the teacher presents picture cards with words. The teacher says, “I am going on a trip, and I will bring (draws a card and shows children)… a hat! A hat will be the first thing on my list of things to bring. Hat. (Spell word on paper and then say each letter.) H-A-T. (Point to each word as you say the letter.) These letters come together to make the word hat.”
In Unit 4, with the Journal prompt “Draw or Write About How You Are Feeling Today,” the teacher references print to support emergent writing and directs children to the “Feelings Poster” in the classroom: “Let’s see if we can find the word … in our classroom.”
In Unit 5, the materials provide recommendations for setting up a print-rich environment by placing familiar vocabulary words in centers. The teacher incorporates reproducible classroom signs, such as the daily schedule and bathroom routine, with printed words and visual supports for children to reference independently. Children engage with authentic print during the day by writing their names to sign into a learning center. The materials direct the teacher to demonstrate purposeful print when completing graphic organizers like T-charts and word webs during Morning Meetings, read-alouds, and Journal time. For example, in the third read-aloud of My Road Trip Around the World, children compare cultures that are similar and different. The teacher records the responses, in print, on a T-chart. In another lesson, children explore which items will sink or float and record using a T-chart. Materials recommend putting the completed T-chart in the “Investigation Location” center for students to reference in a print-rich environment. In another lesson, the materials direct the teacher to model for students how to make an L with their hand to determine where the left side of the paper is during Journal time. The materials direct the teacher to say, “When we write, we go from left to right and top to bottom!” The teacher marks the left-hand side of the paper with a sticker or the letter L to show students where to start writing.
In Unit 8, thematic unit vocabulary is applied in the weekly centers. For example, the teacher reads the book A Log’s Life in a group read-aloud. Pictures of the life cycle of a tree with vocabulary cards are shared during the read-aloud. The pictures are then placed in the “Writing” center, where the students can label the parts of a tree and add drawings of creatures that live in, on, or around the tree. Also in this unit, the “Construction Zone” center is set up as an excavation site. Real pictures of dinosaurs, paleontology, and excavations are used in the center. Vocabulary words are also posted in the center for student reference.
In Unit 9, the teacher reminds the children to write an L on the top left side of their paper to start their sentence. The teacher writes and thinks aloud until the paper runs out of space. The teacher says, “I have more to say, but I’ve reached the end of my paper. I need to sweep back to the ‘L.’” Children practice “sweeping back” by finger-writing on their friend’s back first. In another lesson, the teacher models purposeful text and uses shared writing by creating a list of words to describe the Earth. The materials direct the teacher to place the list in the Construction Zone for children to access environmental print to help build their “Earth” at that center.
The materials provide a variety of high-quality texts for read-alouds within each unit, including different genres and styles. Students have the opportunity to interact with the read-alouds before, during, and after the story and to practice skills such as predicting and inferencing. Materials include use of purposeful environmental print throughout the classroom: They provide recommendations for graphic organizers to be created after read-alouds and placed in centers throughout the room, as well as recommendations for labeled areas around the classroom.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, the book Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn is used across large group, interactive guided, and independent reading lessons. The text follows a young African American girl as she goes to the library. Children can relate to gathering items to leave the house, attending a read-aloud, and singing “Twinkle, twinkle.” The book reviews the novelties of going to the library, such as scanning your books and using a library card. The teacher first references the book during “Morning Meeting” and uses it to guide students to learn what a peer is and how to treat our peers kindly. Using this text, students make predictions; make connections to home and classroom about caring for materials appropriately; make a list of interesting topics for books in a shared writing activity; and focus on key vocabulary that can be incorporated in the “Library” center, such as title, borrow, and librarian. During the read-aloud, after the teacher introduces the text, students predict what the book will be about. After reading the book, students discuss their predictions and connections to the text, such as experiences they have had at the library and activities they like to do with their family. Students also recall and practice ways to care for books in the Library center.
In Unit 4, students learn about different types of artists through a read-aloud of Artists Create. The text showcases sculptors, flamenco dancers, photographers, and painters and reinforces the message students can become any type of artist by using imagination and creativity. Students act out the various art types and practice making art in centers. During the first read-aloud, students learn new vocabulary words from the story, such as imagination, sculpture, flamenco dancer, painter, singer, and photographer, and act out the words at the conclusion of the lesson. During the second reading, the teacher uses the quote “You must work hard for your dreams” and demonstrates how to practice and try your best. During the final reading, the teacher encourages children to describe types of art using their imaginations, noting size, color, and shape. In addition to multiple read-alouds of the text to increase understanding, the book also uses repetitive phrases such as “To be an artist...” and “If you’re an artist...” to allow the students to practice developmentally appropriate reading behaviors.
In Unit 9, the book Lots and Lots of Zebra Stripes provides a literary connection to teach the concept of patterns. The text explores patterns found in nature through photographs of high-interest animals and plants such as giraffes, cheetahs, flowers, and zebras. Text is simple, and children can refer to pictures to “read” the text independently. It also uses the vocabulary word pattern on every page, reinforcing the concept. Students build more complex patterns with each read-aloud in the after-reading activities. Students begin with making a two-color pattern with linking cubes, then make patterns with three different shapes, and finally make movement patterns with their bodies by collaborating with other peers. The book discusses different patterns found in nature. For example, when looking at a zebra, the teacher says, “The zebra has an AB pattern. Black, white, black, white, black. What comes next?”
Examples of fiction texts include but are not limited to:
Examples of nonfiction texts include but are not limited to:
Examples of variety text types, such as poems, songs, and nursery rhymes, include but are not limited to:
According to “High-Quality Environments” modules, the classroom environment should be labeled with pictures and texts, and daily schedules and rules with pictures and text and should be posted for student reference. Classroom centers are labeled by name with text and pictures.
In Unit 1, the Library center includes environmental print by using a “Book Club Reproducible” to aid the children in reading responses; it includes a pictorial representation of response types and associated text, such as “Picture Walk,” “My Favorite Character,” and “Three Events.” The “Investigation Location” reinforces print knowledge of the parts of a book and includes “Book Parts” reproducible, which includes “Front Cover,” “Spine,” and “Back Cover.”
In Unit 9, at the “Dramatic Play” center, students role-play a flower shop. The teacher prepares seed packets and labels the packets daisy, daffodil, iris, and rose with the word and picture. The teacher also labels an egg carton with the flower name and picture.
Materials include guidance for the teacher to connect texts to children’s experiences at home and school through relevant questions, familiar scenes in the texts, journal prompts, and reproducible charts implemented during read-alouds and centers. Materials include guidance for the teacher on basic text structures and their impact on the understanding of the text by including an “Elements of a Story” poster and incorporating scripted prediction and inference questions.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 2, there are 18 Tier 2 flexible small group lessons regarding informational text features. The teacher uses the same text for twelve lessons, and each lesson focuses on a different text feature or skill. For example, lessons include identifying labels in a text, giving examples of a topic, and identifying the main idea. There are also 18 Tier 3 lessons regarding story structure. The lessons focus on character, setting, and problem. A specific text is not included, and the lessons are adaptable for various texts.
In Unit 3, the teacher reads the book Go Outside and Play three times in one week. Students use the read-aloud to identify triangles and rectangles around the classroom and group shapes based on their properties. After reading the book, the teacher says, “Alex found shapes around her yard. Let’s see if we can find triangles and rectangles in our classroom!” On day two of the read-aloud, students make a collage of the shapes, adding a rhombus and circle to the list of shapes. On day three, children identify and sort the shapes on paper. In another lesson in this unit, the teacher reads The Night Worker and asks students to make an inference about what Papa is building at the construction site. The teacher models how to make an inference: “Hmm, I wonder what Papa is building at the construction site? I see tall buildings in the background. I think he is building another skyscraper! That's my guess. You can use the book to describe what he is building!”
In Unit 6, after a read-aloud of Goodnight Everyone, the teacher asks students to help make a list of ways they get ready or calm down before bedtime. During the second reading of the book, the teacher asks students to recall dreams they remember. This activity continues during “Journal Time,” when the teacher asks children to write and draw about their bedtime routine.
In Unit 7, the teacher reads aloud Not Norman: A Goldfish Story. The scenes in the book are relatable to children: a birthday party and attending music class. The teacher asks questions to make connections, for example, “What type of pet would you like to have?” “If you were the boy in the story, would you keep Norman? Why?” There are a total of three read-aloud lessons and two journal prompts utilizing this text. In the first lesson, the teacher asks prompting questions to discuss vocabulary words and complete a reproducible “Narrative Goal” poster as a class. Once complete, the teacher puts the poster in the “Library” center to use as a reference. In the second read-aloud lesson, children retell the story, using the book and referencing at least three events. The class completes an “Elements of a Story,” which is also put in the Library center. In the third lesson, students design a new fishbowl for Norman. Students also make personal connections to the text, using journal prompts such as “How do you think Norman feels when the boy wants to get rid of him?” “How did the boy’s feelings towards Norman change?” During “Conference Time,” the teacher asks, “Have your feelings ever changed during the day? Tell me about it.” The materials direct the teacher to ask children to share about any pets at home.
In Unit 8, the teacher reads the book What Is a Scientist? The materials direct the teacher to say, “We are going to learn about being a scientist! After reading the book, we are going to practice being a scientist.” After reading the story, the class participates in a science experiment using jelly beans and warm water. The teacher asks students, “I think the ...” and “I observed ….” In another lesson, The Little Beetle read-aloud uses a graphic organizer to identify the character, problem, and solutions. During the read-aloud, the teacher discusses the book and points out the characters’ feelings, vocabulary words, and what is happening in the story. After the read-aloud, the teacher says, “Let’s talk about the character, problem, and solution in our story.” The teacher displays a Narrative Goal poster. The poster has questions for the class to make connections, such as “Who was in the story? What did … want to do? What was the problem? Was the problem fixed? How did the story end?”
In Unit 9, during the second read-aloud of The Snowy Day, the class engages in shared writing to complete the Elements of a Story poster. They identify the setting, character, and three events from the story. Students use the completed poster to create a summary of the story. Throughout the read-aloud, the teacher asks prediction and inference questions, such as “What is going to happen to the snow in the tree? Is it a good idea for Peter to put snow in his pockets? Why is Peter sad?”
Materials include a variety of strategies to support English Learners’ (ELs’) reading skills, explicitly through small group instruction that relates to most of the units and indirectly in whole group read-aloud lessons. Supports include illustrated visuals, photographic visuals with text, review, highlighting, production of vocabulary words in the text, and practicing physical examples of emotion vocabulary words. The materials do not provide evidence of guiding the teacher to use the child’s primary language as a means to support learning of the English language.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide “Dual Language Flexible Small Group Lessons,” which are accessible throughout all units. In Tier 2 Dual Language (DL) lessons, Weeks 6–10, students demonstrate an understanding of explanations and use words to describe concrete objects, actions, and feelings. For example, in one of the “Emotions” lessons, students use the language pattern “I am ...” to describe feelings and demonstrate understanding by correctly identifying feeling vocabulary through the use of pictures. The teacher models language, shows pictures of each word introduced, and asks students to make faces reflecting the feelings they discuss.
The materials provide strategies such as using visuals to support ELs, but they do not provide evidence of using the EL’s primary language as a means to transfer to English language and literacy skills. For example, in a DL lesson where children describe family members using the language pattern “This is the ...,” the teacher uses supports such as photographs of family members (e.g., mother, father, grandma) and sign language. The teacher says, “Mother. This is the mother. In Sign Language, I can say mother by (teacher demonstrates the sign). This is the mother.” The lesson does not provide guidance for the teacher to use the child’s primary language to aid in the transfer of knowledge.
In another DL lesson, students sing a song, saying and practicing the motions of “sit down” and “stand up.” The teacher provides photographs of words such as trade, share, line up, and clean up; the teacher shows the words as the teacher says them and then gradually decreases the need for visual support. The words on the visual supports are only written in English. The materials provide visual cues for these key vocabulary words that children can identify in their primary language, but they do not provide guidance to help students transfer from their first language to English language and literacy skills.
In Unit 1, the teacher reads the book One Word at a Time to the class to teach ELs encouragement and empathy. The materials direct the teacher to introduce the book and say, “Say, English. English is the language we speak at school. Some of us speak English at home, and some of us speak another language. This book is about a little girl, Maria Teresa, who is learning English and her first language is Spanish. After we are done reading, we will talk about what she did in her classroom to help her understand some of the English language.” The book does not use Spanish words to support the children but uses a classroom setting to show support for new learning and routines.
In Unit 6, in a large group read-aloud of The Crocodile and the Dentist, the teacher reviews an illustrated visual of a mouth and teeth. The visual includes labels for different parts of the mouth, such as front teeth, gums, back teeth, uvula, and tongue. In a second reading of the book, the teacher reviews the story, and children practice “brushing” away the stains on the laminated paper teeth, which is a hands-on contextual activity for all learners. In the DL lessons, students are provided photographic visuals of vocabulary words such as dentist, dental office, teeth, gums, and crocodile. The teacher introduces the pictures one at a time and has the children repeat the new word for each card before reading. During the reading, students raise their hands or point to the picture in the book if they recognize any of the vocabulary words. Other supports include highlighting vocabulary words while reading. The teacher reads the vocabulary word in the story and shows the matching vocabulary card; students repeat the word. In the DL lesson for this book, students draw and write the vocabulary words using the photographs and word models from the previous lesson; to aid those that are non-responsive or non-verbal, the class discusses what happens in the story using a picture walk.
In Unit 8, the materials use DL lessons to support a read-aloud of The Dinosaur Who Lived in My Backyard. The lesson uses pictures to support the understanding of new vocabulary words. The teacher reads the book and uses picture cards with text to support vocabulary in conversation. The picture cards are real pictures of a backyard, dinosaur toys, lima beans, a swamp, and a tent. During the reading, the teacher states: “I’m going to keep going through our book. If you hear one of our words, tell me. You can raise your hand, like this. Or you can point.” The teacher places the picture cards on the table so children can point to the word they hear and/or match it to the illustration.
The materials include a variety of experiences through which students can engage with writing. The materials include direct (explicit) instruction as well as opportunities for children to imitate adult writing; opportunities for students to generate independent writing; opportunities for group writing on shared experiences; opportunities for illustration/drawing with detail, which transfers to writing; and opportunities to write in response to reading. They make explicit the connection between reading and writing.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 3, the teacher models how to write an opinion. The teacher says, “When I write about my favorite tool, I am giving my opinion. Opinions are ideas or thoughts about something. My opinion might be different from your opinion. Or, it might be the same.” While children write and draw, the teacher asks, “What is your favorite tool?” The materials include independent writing activities in all centers. During this unit, students engage in writing activities such as labeling tools at the “Art Easel” center, drawing or writing how favorite tools could be used in the “woodshop” in the “Dramatic Play” center, and answering writing prompts, such as “Why do carpenters use nails to build a structure?” In a read-aloud lesson, the teacher reads Have You Filled a Bucket Today? and leads a reading response activity, recording student responses about what it looks, sounds, and feels like to be a good classmate on a chart. Students write their name next to their response. In the “Writing” center, students draw a blueprint, using lines and shapes, to plan their building for the “Construction Zone” center. Students label their blueprints while they conference with the teacher, who helps them listen for the beginning sounds of the words.
In Unit 6, during a read-aloud of How to Make an Awesome Cake, the children participate in a shared writing activity to make a list of ingredients used to bake a cake. The teacher uses a picture walk to remind children of the ingredients. In the “Exploration Station” center, children use mud to represent baking a real cake. The children then write a list of ingredients used in the mud cake. One “Question of the Day” asks students, “What is your favorite sweet treat?” Children write their responses in list form, with teacher assistance, and then share with the class. In a journal activity, children draw and write about an “Awesome Cake” or “Awesome Meal” they’d like to make. The teacher draws attention to sensory words to help others know what the cake looks, tastes, and feels like.
In Unit 9, during a “Journal” lesson, the teacher demonstrates how to write on the paper from left to right. The teacher says, “I am going to write an L on the top of my paper. This helps me remember to start writing on the left side of my paper.” The teacher writes until she reaches the edge of the paper and thinks out loud as she returns to the left side of the page to continue writing. Students practice this by writing on their partner’s back using their fingers. The teacher turns the Dramatic Play center into a flower shop. Students pretend to make flower arrangements, write down orders for the shop, and discuss the types of flowers. In the Writing center, students draw cartoons and create a comic book about plants’ needs. Children use the provided comic book templates to create their comic and then share with the class. One of the read-aloud lessons for this unit is Flower Garden. Students follow this lesson with the journal prompt, “Write and draw about how a seed becomes a plant.” The teacher also uses the “Life Cycle of a Tree and Needs of Plants” reproducible to talk about how a seed becomes a plant and models how to write a response.
The materials instruct students along the developmental stages of writing. The materials follow the developmental continuum of how children learn writing, provide guidance for teachers on how to nudge students along the continuum for writing development, and include guidance for teachers on how to include appropriate student contributions to writing and the writing process, as specified by the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 3, during a “Journal” activity, the teacher models a scribble story in response to the prompt “What jobs would construction workers use a backhoe for?” The teacher thinks aloud, “I think a backhoe could dig a swimming pool. I am drawing a rectangle for my swimming pool. I am using wavy lines to be the water!” The teacher nudges children’s writing through conferences. The teacher asks, “What are you going to draw? Can you tell me how you are going to draw ...?” During this activity, students participate in the writing process through brainstorming and drafting their responses.
In Unit 6, during a Journal activity, the teacher models how to use a word bank to support descriptive writing in response to the prompt “Write and draw what it would be like to be a land narwhal or a sea unicorn.” The teacher says, “I think it would be magical to be a land narwhal. What letter do you hear at the beginning of the word ‘magical’? Which of our words starts with the letter M?” The teacher shows children three cards that say magical, fun, and creepy; the teacher helps students write magical, using the card for help and using letter talk while spelling the word. The teacher nudges children along, modeling how to sound out words and providing word bank cards to copy. In the “Library” center, children complete a book review using reproducibles that engage scribble writing, freewriting, and title and name writing. The teacher encourages children to present their book reviews. The teacher places a toy microphone in the Library center and gives the children the floor, saying, “Next up, telling us all about the book ... is …. Take it away!”
In Unit 9, during a Journal activity, students focus on phonetic word spelling. The teacher models how to write the correct initial sound of a word: “My favorite flower is a daisy. I am going to write the letter for the beginning sound I hear in /d/ /d/ daisy.” During a “Write to Inform” lesson, the teacher models how to write a list of things she wants to know about the Earth, using words and pictures. The teacher conferences with students during Journal time to guide them in writing a list to answer the same question. In another Journal activity, the teacher models how to write a story by deciding the character, setting, and events to be included. The teacher conferences with students, asking, “Who is the character in your story? Where are they? What are they doing?” The teacher encourages children to draw each element and helps students write a sentence.
The materials support fine motor development alongside and through writing but are limited to the materials and activities used. There is support and guidance for the teacher to facilitate prewriting and fine motor skills that target student writing experiences.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, students use paintbrushes, water, and tissue paper to glue tissue paper to paper. Students continue to add tissue paper until the paper is covered. In the “Writing” center, students use stamps to spell out their names. At the “Art Easel” center, students can practice drawing with paint and different paintbrushes; they create a forest or an island through a picture with writing. The materials include lessons that allow the teacher to model how to hold a crayon using the pincer grip. They are guided to say, “When I write, I hold my pencil between my pointer finger and thumb.”
In Unit 2, materials provide opportunities for students to use clothespins. Teachers incorporate clothespins in the “Investigation Location” center to all more practice on fine motor skills. This continued practice allows this skill to be developed over time.
In Unit 6, at the “Art Studio” center, students use marbles, paint, spoons, and eye droppers to create artwork. The students transfer paint to a box using spoons and eye droppers; then, they shake the box, moving the marble around to make artwork. The writing prompt for the center activity asks children to describe the artwork and label what was used to make the art. During a “Journal” activity, students reference the “Uppercase Letter Poster” (on formation) to write with help from the teacher. As the student writes, the teacher asks guiding questions, such as “I see you are writing the word …. What letter is at the beginning of ...?” Students use markers, pencils, crayons, and paint for the student writing experiences. In the “Exploration” center, students strengthen fine motor skills by using tweezers, pipe cleaners, and straws.
In Unit 8, the “Exploration” center allows scholars to dig for dinosaur bones to use fine motor skills.
In Unit 9, the “Construction” center includes paper, blocks, and pictures of mountains; students use blocks to create mountains and volcanoes. Students also use eye droppers, tweezers, and tongs to pick up items during center activities. The materials provide opportunities in centers to use writing tools, such as markers, crayons, and paintbrushes. The materials do prescribe a variety of surfaces for student writing experiences, which include sand writing, rainbow writing with salt, and dirt writing.
The Instructional Leader Collection in Canvas – “a series of training packages focused on the professional needs and growth of early childhood teachers and leaders”- offers a module called “Developing Early Writing.” There is a list of 12 different tools to write with and 12 surfaces to write on.
The materials follow a logical mathematical continuum of concrete, pictorial, then abstract representations. Instruction in all mathematical competencies progresses from concrete to pictorial to abstract, with the greatest emphasis on using concrete manipulatives. The materials include a variety of types of concrete manipulatives and pictorial representations and activities that build conceptual understanding in counting, adding to, taking away, geometry, spatial sense, measurement, classification, and pattern skills, as indicated by the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 2, one “Question of the Day” is “Is the paper over or under the block?” The teacher shows the children a wood block and places a piece of paper over it. The teacher says, “Is the paper over or under the block? The paper is above or on top of the block.” The teacher repeats the activity for under and records student responses on chart paper. The lesson continues in the “Investigation Location” center. The teacher provides activity cards; a picture of a bed has a mouse under it and a clock over it. The teacher asks students about the pictures using the appropriate positional words. During one “Morning Meeting” lesson, the teacher says, “We are going to practice ABC patterns! Remember, a pattern is something that repeats over and over. Let’s make an ABC pattern with shapes. I have three shapes — a circle, a square, and a triangle. I am going to use these shapes to make a pattern.” The teacher tapes the shapes on chart paper, creating a pattern. This is carried into the Question of the Day that the teacher shares during a Morning Meeting: “What shape comes next in my pattern?” The teacher shows children an ABC pattern using shape cards. The teacher then asks the children to complete the pattern by taping the next shape card in the pattern.
In Unit 5, the teacher reads aloud the book Let’s Compare and discusses the vocabulary words few, more, less, and same. After the reading, students practice identifying which group of manipulatives, such as counting bears and links, has more or fewer objects. The teacher creates two groups of manipulatives that are easily distinguishable. Children match each object in one group to an object in another group to see which group has more and which has less. Another lesson targets how to use shape properties to identify 3D shapes. The teacher asks, “What is a shape? What does 3D mean? 3D refers to solid shapes. Solid shapes have length, depth, and width. Is this a 3D shape?” The teacher holds up a 2D shape. “No, it’s a circle. A circle is not a 3D shape. Is a triangle or a cone a 3D shape?” In the “Writing” center, students write and draw about 3D shapes they observe around the classroom. During a Morning Meeting, the teacher uses a set of cards with colored dots ranging from 1 to 5. The teacher says, “I am going to show you a set. You will tell me if it’s a set of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.” The teacher shows the children a dot card. The teacher asks, “How many are in my set?” The teacher repeats this activity with other cards in the set.
In Unit 8, children compare measurements of objects using rulers. The teacher reviews what one inch looks like, explains how to measure, and says, “I will line the bottom of the marker up with the beginning of my ruler. Then, I will look to the end of the ruler to see where the marker stops.” Throughout the week, children engage in various measurement activities, such as measuring objects with the 6-inch ruler in table groups and going on a scavenger hunt around the classroom to find objects that are six inches. Students progress and measure objects with a 7-inch and 12-inch ruler once they master measuring objects with the 6-inch ruler. In one “Learning Lab” activity, students use a 6-inch ruler to compare two tangible objects from the classroom. The teacher reinforces that inches is a small unit of measurement and asks children to show what 6 inches looks like with their hands. Children then complete a T-chart labeled “Shorter” and “Longer” and draw objects on the corresponding sides.
Materials promote instruction that builds on students’ informal knowledge about mathematics. The materials prompt teachers to inquire about students’ developmental status and mathematical knowledge, include cross-curricular opportunities to authentically integrate mathematics throughout the day, and support the use of the classroom environment and materials as vehicles to explore math concepts and skills.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide embedded math support throughout the lessons, including through the “Learning Lab,” “Morning Meeting,” “Question of the Day,” and STEM activities. The materials provide a direct math assessment in the areas of number concepts, geometry and spatial sense, patterns, measurement, and data analysis. There are 54 flexible small group lesson plans across all math standards domains. The flexible small group plans include a brief check for understanding. Checkpoint information throughout these lessons helps teachers monitor progress for children receiving tiered small group or individualized support.
In Unit 1, the teacher reads aloud Up, Down, Around, and Through, and then asks, “Do you remember some of the positional words we heard in the story? Have you ever been on a merry-go-round before? It goes around and around.” The teacher shows a picture of a girl climbing the stairs of a slide and asks, “Is she going up or down? Yes, I see that she’s going up. Can you point up?” Children then practice positional words using counting bears. During a gross motor lesson, students play a game where they practice positional words through body movements: Students move their arms up, squat down, and spin around. The students also create a tunnel by raising their arms and touching fingertips with the student across from them; the other students go through the tunnel. In the “Investigation Location” center, students use manipulatives such as counting bears and linking cubes to model positional and movement terms such as up, down, around, and through.
In Unit 4, the teacher leads an activity where the children compare pictures of animals, shapes, and the height of classmates during a read-aloud of Big, Bigger, Biggest. During each reading of the book, students identify the bigger and smaller objects by pointing and explaining how they know it is bigger or smaller. One “Journal” activity from the week includes the prompt “I am bigger than ….” The teacher models and says, “I am bigger than a marker.” Later, the teacher says, “Throughout the day, I’ve asked each of you to order the toys from biggest to smallest. Now, I am going to order the toys from smallest to biggest.” In the Investigation Location center, students order various classroom items from smallest to biggest. Play support includes incorrectly modeling how to put objects in order and asking the child to help put the objects in order.
In Unit 7, the teacher discusses freshwater versus saltwater aquatic creatures and how they live in either habitat. The teacher leads an activity where the children sort the water creatures. The teacher asks, “Why did you put the sea turtle under saltwater? How do you know it’s a saltwater creature? Where should you put the frog? Why?” Following the freshwater versus saltwater creatures lesson, students sort, using plastic saltwater animals and freshwater animals and a T-chart. During a Morning Meeting lesson, students are shown a card with a square. The teacher says, “This is a square. It has four sides and four corners. Let’s practice making a square!” Students first make a square with craft sticks and then use other classroom materials such as pencils or markers. The teacher shows the children the circle card next and asks them to make a circle using a pipe cleaner. In the Investigation Location center, students sort pictures of items that belong together by attributes or association.
The materials intentionally develop young children’s ability to problem-solve. The materials develop children’s capacity to ask thoughtful questions, recognize problems in their environment, and use mathematical reasoning with familiar materials in the classroom and world outside the classroom.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, the materials introduce positional and movement words such as up, down, and around. One week, in the “Investigation Location” center, the teacher asks, “Can you think of something at school that we have to go down? Is there anything on our playground that helps us to go around and around?” The teacher shares pictures that show how children can use their bodies to demonstrate some of these words. Another week, while in the Investigation Location, children explore new mathematical manipulatives and use counting bears and links. The teacher asks, “How are you using the counting bears? Oh, can you show me? What do you think we could make with these links?” In the third week of the Investigation Location, children sort objects while also cleaning up the center. The teacher asks, “What is this a group of? Why did you group these in the basket together? Where would I put this one? Can you think of other ways that you could sort these objects in the Investigation Location?”
In Unit 4, the teacher reads aloud the book Big, Bigger, Biggest; the teacher uses pictures from the text to order one row of pictures from biggest to smallest while others are placed out of order. The teacher asks, “Which of these rows shows the animals in order from biggest to smallest? How do we know these animals are in order from biggest to smallest?” During a Morning Meeting in this unit, students practice counting using art materials. Students count objects, one through ten, touching each object to demonstrate one-to-one correspondence; they repeat this activity a few times with different quantities. During another Morning Meeting, students compare sizes of balls and put them in order from smallest to biggest. During clean-up time, the teacher asks students to put items away by size in the Library center; for example, “Let’s put the books back on the shelf. Let’s start with this book. Can you find a book to put away that is bigger?”
In Unit 9, the teacher places a variety of rocks in the Investigation Location, and students sort the rocks by size. The teacher asks, “How can we sort the rocks in our collection? Can we sort them by size?” One week, the teacher sets up the “Dramatic Play” center as a recycling center. While at this center, students use the provided materials to sort recyclable items into the categories paper, plastic, and other. During another week, the teacher converts the Dramatic Play center into a flower shop. Students use various materials such as plastic flowers, a cash register, and pom-poms in various colors. The teacher encourages the children to sort the seeds and flowers by color. In a read-aloud lesson, the teacher reads Lots and Lots of Zebra Stripes, which is about patterns in nature. The teacher asks the students, “Can you think of any other places we might find patterns? Do you see any patterns in our classroom?” After this lesson, students create shape patterns (e.g., circle, square, triangle, circle, square, triangle).
The materials build students’ number sense. The materials provide guidance for teachers on building conceptual understanding in math and provide frequent, spiraled, and varied opportunities for students to participate in activities that build number sense, as outlined in the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines. These activities include subitizing, counting one-to-one, comparing set size and numbers, counting on, and finding one more than a number.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 2, during a “Morning Meeting” lesson, students practice counting one to five and counting on. The teacher uses envelopes to demonstrate one-to-one correspondence. The teacher says, “We are going to count envelopes ready to be mailed! Now, let’s practice counting forward. Counting forward helps us know how many of something there are if we have one more. I have 3 envelopes. There is one more envelope; how many will I have?” Students count to three with the teacher as she places each envelope. The teacher says, “If I count forward one more envelope, I’ll have 4. 1, 2, 3, 4.” The teacher repeats the activity using numbers one through five. The teacher places the envelopes in centers for the children to practice their counting. In the “Art” center, students write and identify the numbers 0 through 5. The children draw eyes on a fish they are coloring or painting. The teacher says, “Tell me about your fish. How many eyes did you draw on your fish? Let’s count them. You drew four eyes on your fish. Let’s write the number four.”
In Unit 5, students create and identify sets of 1–5. In a Morning Meeting, the teacher uses hula hoops as a circle to organize sets of five. The teacher says, “We are going to use our Set Circle one more time this morning! What is a set? We are going to make sets of 5. I don’t think I can fit five children in the circle, so I am going to use these blocks.” The teacher places blocks inside a hula hoop to create a set of five. With the teacher, students count the items in the hoop and repeat the activity with other classroom materials. In the “Exploration Station,” students use beans to create a musical instrument. The teacher asks, “Can you make a set of 5 beans?” The teacher then creates a set of three beans. The teacher asks, “How many beans are in my set? How do you know? Show me. What else do you want to add?”
In Unit 8, during a whole group lesson, students complete a bar graph and answer the question, “Would you rather be a meat-eating or plant-eating dinosaur?” The teacher records students’ responses; students place an X in the column that corresponds with their answer. The teacher keeps the X’s in a line across the columns to support one-to-one correspondence. The teacher then guides students to determine which group has more, less, or if they are the same. During three read-aloud lessons, the teacher reads Count the Noisy Birds. The book teaches foundational counting and combines the numbers of differently colored birds to reach a total number. For example, there are two red birds and three yellow birds. The text says, “Let’s count all the red and yellow birds. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Altogether, there are five birds that are red or yellow.”
Materials develop students’ academic math vocabulary. The materials include repeated opportunities for students to hear and practice using math vocabulary. Materials include guidance for teachers on how to scaffold and support students’ development and use of academic math vocabulary.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Math Flexible Small Group Plans” guide teachers to scaffold students’ development of academic math vocabulary. For example, some lessons target the skill of rote counting. Within these lessons, a “Differentiate” section guides the teacher to support struggling students as well as those who have mastered the skill taught in the lesson. One rote counting lesson targets counting from 1 to 20. The upward differentiation for this lesson directs the teacher to have children count beyond 20. The downward differentiation directs the teacher to have children practice counting to 10 or 15.
In Unit 1, during a one-to-one correspondence small group lesson, the teacher reviews the vocabulary words match and different. The teacher says, “Match means to put things together that belong together. Some things can go together even if they are different, like a spoon and a bowl.” The vocabulary is then reinforced in the “Investigation Location” center, where children play a movement game to reinforce the positional vocabulary. In a math small group lesson, students focus on defining and modeling the words in and on. The lesson provides upward differentiation, where children describe the proximity of groceries to each other when putting them in the bag and on the shelf. The lesson also provides downward differentiation: If children are not able to notice the difference between in and on, they can work on one word using their body and one object. For example, “Put your hand IN the box. Put your foot IN the box.”
In Unit 5, the teacher reads aloud the book Get in Shape. The vocabulary discussed during the read-aloud is cone, cylinder, face, rectangular pyramid, sphere, and triangular prism. The teacher uses pictures of shapes and geometric solids. The teacher says, “Let’s talk about some of the shapes in the book. What shape is this party hat? What shape is this orange? What shape is this tissue box?” In the “Art” center, students use shape properties to identify 3D shapes. The teacher asks, “What shape are you painting? How do you know it’s a triangle? Point to a triangle. That triangle is part of a triangular prism! A triangular prism is a 3D shape that has a triangle on the top, and the bottom and three rectangular faces.”
In Unit 9, the teacher reads the book Flower Garden in three separate read-alouds. After each read-aloud, students practice counting and adding sets of flowers. The teacher uses plastic flowers or pictures of flowers and counts a set of flowers with the students. For example, the teacher says, “1, 2, 3, 4. Here are four flowers.” The teacher then shows the students four more flowers and counts these with the students. All of the flowers are counted to determine how many flowers there are all together. During a math flexible small group lesson, students recognize and create patterns. For example, one lesson describes patterns on birds. During the introduction of this lesson, the teacher asks, “Who remembers what a pattern is?” After the children respond, the teacher shares a definition of pattern with students: “A pattern is something that repeats over and over.” The teacher shows the students a picture of a bird’s feathers that contain a pattern and asks the students, “Do you see a pattern? Which colors repeat?”
The materials build science knowledge through inquiry-based instruction and exploration of the natural world. The materials develop children’s observation and questioning of their environment and ability to communicate ideas. Materials include exploration with scientific tools and provide opportunities for students to explore physical science, life science, earth science, and space science through hands-on experiences.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, during a “Learning Lab” lesson, students participate in a hands-on experiment in which they form a hypothesis and record results; students find out which cup of water with food coloring will change the color of the white carnation. The teacher asks, “What do you think? Do you think red or blue water will change the flower to a different color?” Students then verbally communicate their hypothesis while the teacher records their answers on chart paper. After discussing the result of the experiment as a class, students draw the outcome of the experiment independently. As students write and draw, the class discusses the experiment. The materials used for this experiment include flowers, cups, food coloring, and trays. A handful of students get to be “helpers” with the activity, mixing the water and setting up the observational experiment. As students conduct this hands-on experiment to see which food coloring works best to change the color of the flower, they learn about the life science of plants.
In Unit 5, during a Learning Lab lesson, students participate in a hands-on investigation: They observe how oranges can turn into orange juice. The teacher leads children to make observations with some of their five senses and selects one child to smell and taste the orange liquid, asking, “What do you think it is? What does it taste like?” Students verbally communicate their observations through each step of the investigation (squeezing a whole, uncut orange, squeezing an orange cut in half; and finally using a juicer). The teacher facilitates conversations by thinking aloud after squeezing half an orange. The teacher says, “We got juice! Did we get enough juice to drink? Hmm, I wonder if there is something we can use to help us get lots of juice from the orange? Maybe this juicer!” The “Apply” section suggests providing the freshly squeezed juice as a drink during snack time, encouraging peer-to-peer communication about the juice. The materials for this activity include oranges, orange juice, cups, bowls, and a hand juicer. The students take turns using different materials to explore the best way to juice an orange. Students explore physical science regarding the concept of force and how solids can turn into liquids.
In Unit 8, in the “Exploration Station” center, students explore various types of soil using sediments, soil, clay, sand, silt, gravel, hand rakes, and shovels. Students order the sediments from smallest to largest. The teacher asks, “Which type of sediment has the smallest pieces? Which type has the largest pieces? How does each type of sediment feel? What is the texture? What does the gravel feel like? Do you feel any pebbles in the gravel?” Students pretend to be scientists studying the sediment; they wear a lab coat, use a magnifying glass, and record their observations. In this activity, students are exploring earth science by engaging with different types of soil.
The materials build social studies knowledge through study of culture and community, following a logical sequence of social studies. The materials provide opportunities for students to explore commonalities and differences in individuals; to learn about routines and events, both past, present, and future; and to explore the roles of consumers in their community. Materials include lessons that support the concept of city. The materials direct that social studies guidelines are present in daily lessons, but the lessons are not specific to the guidelines.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, students learn their roles for when they are learning in small and large group activities, moving around the classroom and the school, and sharing their opinion during the “Question of the Day.” Students answer the question, “What do you like to do at school?” The teacher reads aloud two books that explore differences with positive, friendly language: Lola at the Library and One Word at a Time. In Lola at the Library, an African American girl explores how to take care of books at the library and at home; in One Word at a Time, Marita, a native Spanish speaker, adjusts to her new preschool classroom while trying to understand a new language. During centers, in the “Dramatic Play” center, students take on pretend roles related to routines at home. The teacher encourages students to act out appropriate nighttime and getting-ready-for-school routines, such as reading bedtime stories, brushing teeth, and putting on clothes in the morning. The teacher connects home and school routines and says, “At home, you have routines to get ready for bed or school. At school, we have routines too! Who remembers what to do when it’s time for ...?”
In Unit 5, the materials focus on cultural differences and similarities within the children’s community. In the Dramatic Play center, students host a “family feast” and take on pretend roles. To plan the menu, students create a grocery shopping list using local grocery circulars. Students discuss how they will invite guests to their feast. Students also explore the roles of consumers and pretend to purchase the food in the center. The materials suggest that the teacher include grocery store circulars from international markets to acknowledge the culture of others in the classroom. In a read-aloud of The Big Umbrella, the umbrella provides shelter for many types of people and creatures from the rain. The illustrations depict a variety of people that gather under the umbrella, such as a ballerina, a basketball player, a mom with a baby, a hairy creature, a dog, and many other individuals. The umbrella grows to include everyone that needs shelter from the rain, stating it doesn’t matter “if you’re tall, hairy, or even plaid.” Throughout every unit, there are repeated read-alouds, allowing lessons to connect past events to current and future events. During the second read-aloud of Around the World, the teacher reviews the previous day’s lesson and says, “We have read this book before. Who remembers the title? My Road Trip Around the World! What is a road trip? Would you like to go on a road trip?” The teacher then focuses on the current event of reading the book again and explains the future relationship to the read-aloud so the children can make connections as they read.
In Unit 8, one of the “Journal” lessons focuses on the different jobs of people in the community and their responsibilities. The prompt asks, “What do you think it would be like to be a scientist who learns about dinosaurs?” During a “Learning Lab” lesson, students create a timeline using a weekly calendar. The teacher says, “Each day, we use a daily schedule to show the order of events in our day.” The teacher then briefly reviews the daily schedule and demonstrates how students will learn about a weekly calendar and how to show the order of events over seven days. The Dramatic Play center has students create and pretend to visit a “Dinosaur Paradise.”Students create their own role for pretend play; they can choose to be a tour guide and take the tourists through Dinosaur Paradise. The teacher suggests, “As you sit at the front of the Jeep, provide interesting facts about dinosaurs.”
Students explore the concept of City in multiple ways. In Unit 3, students create a model of their city. Teachers are guided to say, “Tell me about your city. How many roads do you have?” They remind children to add the white lines to the roads and ask, “What kinds of buildings are in your city? Why did you add...?” They are guided to “describe what you see and the sounds you hear” in a City and ask children to “describe what they like about their city.” In Unit 4, students build a city after reading a book about a city. The teacher asks, "What is a city? What shapes are in your city?" In Unit 5, they build cities out of blocks and compare and contrast different cities. The teacher is guided to "Talk about the architecture of the buildings, different types of transportation, different geographic features (water, mountains, etc.)."
The materials expose children to fine arts through exploration. The materials include a variety of daily experiences through multiple mediums and emphasize the students’ engagement in the process of creating rather than the product that is created.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, the children play “Tiptoe Joe” during “Gross Motor Activities;” they perform different dance movements based on the tempo of the song. The teacher demonstrates that when the song is fast-paced and upbeat, the dance movements might be big and fast, like jumping and moving arms up and down quickly. When the song is slower, the teacher demonstrates that movements may be slower and smaller, like tapping your fingers or slowly turning around in one spot. While moving to the song, the teacher asks the children to provide examples of different types of dances they could do to match the music. The teacher asks, “If the music is slow and quiet, what can you do? What if it is fast and loud?” The teacher also reminds children they can choose their own dance moves but to stay in their own space for safety.
In Unit 4, students create dot art in the “Art Easel” center as an extension to a read-aloud of The Dot. The teacher places materials in the center, such as construction paper, paint, paint cups, paintbrushes, the book The Dot, and dot markers. While the students are creating their art, the teacher asks, “What are you making? Why are you making a ...?”
In Unit 8, at the “Art Studio” center, students build a three-dimensional dinosaur using cardboard, scissors, tape, straws, markers, and various items around the class. The teacher asks the students as they build, “What dinosaur are you building? Why did you decide to build a ...? What features does the ... have? Does your dinosaur have spikes? Does your dinosaur walk on two feet or four?” The teacher helps children plan and assemble their dinosaurs. After children create their dinosaurs, they take their completed work to “Dramatic Play” to play in the “Dinosaur Paradise.”
The materials provide opportunities to link technology into the classroom experience or to explore and use various digital tools and use technology to support or enhance student learning.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials do focus on some opportunities to explore or use various digital tools. The materials do incorporate some types of technology that children can use to enhance their learning. Writing prompts are provided for each center, and much of the curriculum encourages writing throughout many of the activities utilizing various tools; however, technology is not often incorporated in any center, journals, read-aloud lessons, or small group lessons, with the exception of presenting a reproducible image or chart on a tablet or computer. Therefore, opportunities are not always presented to teach children how to use technology appropriately as a tool to learn rather than as a distraction from their classwork.
ECR is currently in partnership with Noggin from Nick Jr. Noggin is a child-facing early learning application and includes games, play-along videos, and ebooks. All of these resources are accessible and designed for the 3–6 age group. Working with Nick Jr., the ECR content team collects a curated collection of content aligned to the ECR standards and lessons for each unit. As a result, children are able to link opportunities with technology with their classroom experience. They also have the opportunity to explore and use various digital tools.
Noggin content suggestions appear on weekly teaching grids. Lesson grids with these embedded resources can be viewed on the Every Child Ready Platform. As an example, if teachers are teaching ECR lessons focused on letter identification, there will also be a recommended Noggin activity that reinforces letter identification.
The materials provide some opportunities to link technology into the classroom experience or to explore and use various digital tools. In Unit 1, the teacher is instructed to post reproducible posters, such as a “Conversation Guide” for children to view on computer or tablet only. The materials do not provide opportunities for children to engage with technology in a way that meaningfully connects to the classroom experience. The only link to technology is for the teacher. The materials focus on hands-on, authentic, creative experiences for the children that do not involve technology in this unit.
In Unit 4, students write their names on tablets. The lesson guides the teacher to add "a tablet to your Writing Center this week to allow children to use it to write their names. Consider an app like Paint or Notepad. Children can use their fingers to write the first letter of their first name or full first name. It can be a fun way to engage children with technology.”
In Unit 6, students have an opportunity to respond to a survey using technology. The lesson guides the teacher, “have children record responses on a tablet or laptop to engage them with technology. As children complete the question, allow them to handle the technology and either write an x under their response or another mark.”
In Unit 5, there is a one-page document that provides a visual representation of the definition of “Culture,” including food, language, celebrations, and art, to be printed off and posted as reference material within the classroom. The document enhances student learning, but it is not presented on a computer or tablet.
In Unit 8, students use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water and the air outside.
In Unit 9, materials recommend printing reproducible documents for children to reference during small group lessons and “Learning Lab” activities. For example, the teacher prints pictures of a volcano in various stages of eruption for an activity in which students create an experimental eruption.
The materials include developmentally appropriate diagnostic tools and guidance for teachers, students, and students to monitor progress. The materials include a variety of diagnostic tools that are developmentally appropriate. The materials provide guidance to ensure consistent and accurate administration of diagnostic tools. The materials include tools for students to track their own progress and growth. They include diagnostic tools to measure all content and process skills for prekindergarten, as outlined in the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include formal and anecdotal progress monitoring in small groups that addresses math, language, literacy, and social and emotional development. Diagnostic tools and assessments guide small group instruction and identify what to look for developmentally in the students. The materials include ongoing monitoring and checkpoints within the “Flexible Small Group Plans,” which allow the teacher to check for understanding. For example, during a “Math Numeral Identification” checkpoint, the teacher asks the child to name numerals shown at random. During a “Math Shape Identification” checkpoint, the teacher names a shape, and the child points to the corresponding shape. The program also includes a direct assessment of children’s math skills, such as counting, quantification, and number knowledge, which can be administered two to five times per year. The Flexible Small Group Plans also guide the teacher to implement observational assessment through the differentiation recommendations in the lessons. During a “Book Appreciation and Knowledge” lesson, the teacher observes children holding books upright and tracking print left to right with their fingers. On a checklist, the teacher marks whether she observes this skill or not. The teacher differentiates upward or downward and offers suggestions to continue building these skills at home.
The materials include a training video on how to administer and evaluate direct assessments. The video provides information about the administration and scoring guidelines. Additionally, at the end of the training video, the teacher takes a test, which must be passed with a score of at least 85% before administering assessments to children. The training video provides administration guidelines, such as completing the assessment in a one-on-one setting and assessing in a quiet environment. The training video also notes “discontinue” rules during the assessment; for example, if a child misses three questions in a row, the teacher discontinues the remaining items. The checkpoints in the Flexible Small Group Plans are scripted, ensuring consistent administration. For example, in a rote counting assessment, the checkpoint guides the teacher to say, “We are going to practice counting. Let’s start with the number zero. What are the numbers that come after zero when we count?” The materials then direct the teacher to have the student count independently and to record the highest number counted correctly after the student makes an error or pauses for more than three seconds.
The materials include guidance for the teacher to lead children to evaluate their own work. For example, in a Flexible Small Group “Numeral Writing” lesson, students practice writing the numeral 10. The materials direct the teacher to ask students to circle the numeral they wrote the best. This guidance (to circle the numeral they wrote best) is included in all 18 Numeral Writing lessons.
The materials include a “Data App,” which collects data on each child individually and looks at the whole child. Data input includes “Classroom Behavior Log,” “Positive Behavior Rating Scale,” “Social-Emotional Screener,” “Baseline and Outcome Assessments” based on standards, and a “Speech Screening” assessment. It also includes data collection on prekindergarten standards in “Literacy,” “Language,” “Math,” “Social and Emotional Development,” “Articulation,” and for English Learners.
The materials include guidance for teachers to analyze and respond to data from diagnostic tools. The materials support teachers with guidance and direction to respond to individual students’ needs in all domains, based on measures of student progress appropriate to the developmental level. Diagnostic tools yield meaningful information for teachers to use when planning instruction and differentiation. The materials provide resources and guidance on how to leverage different activities to respond to student data. The materials provide specific guidance for administrators to support teachers in analyzing and responding to data.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Flexible Small Group Plans” include 3-tiered intervention plans based on student progress with each skill, which include recommendations for upward and downward differentiation within the lessons. For example, in Tier 1 “Literacy/Rhyming” lesson, children review the words same and different, identify whether colors are the same or different, and then listen to words to compare. In the Tier 2 lesson, the teacher models finding the same object and comparing similar-sized objects, like a marker and clothespin. In the Tier 3 lesson, students learn the vocabulary word same and compare physical objects that are different, like a book and a stuffed animal, matching the ones that are the same.
The materials include a “Reports” section in which classroom and student reports can be viewed. The student assessment results utilize a color system to support effective data analysis. For example, the assessments for the math skills of rote counting and addition are color-coded as purple for “accelerated,” green to signify “on track,” and yellow as “needs support.” Additionally, the teacher can utilize the checkpoints in the Flexible Small Group Plans when planning instruction and differentiation. The teacher can click on the link of the skill being assessed, and it directly takes the teacher to the lesson activity. The lessons are found in the Flexible Small Group Plans, and they provide direct instruction and differentiation for that skill. However, the materials do not provide an assessment guide in the “Texas Resources” section, which explicitly supports the teacher in understanding and utilizing the results of the assessments.
The materials do not assign specific small groups each day, but they do provide numerous flexible small groups in different content areas. Teachers choose the small group and tier. Small group instruction also provides at-home suggestions, like students tracking print while the parent reads at home, or, for children who have difficulty with compound words, children and families can piece together stem pictures and make compound words using images rather than print words. The materials provide the “High-Quality Environment” course, which includes a module on how to use data to support all children. In a brief video in this module, a teacher uses data to make decisions about the classroom environment. In the video, the teacher analyzes student assessment data, identifies that children in the class are struggling with compound words, and selects classroom areas to differentiate to help children with this skill. For example, differentiating the “Construction Zone” by adding pictures to blocks allows students to create compound words as they build. The materials, however, do not provide specific ways teachers can modify the material besides changing the tier of instruction. The small group lessons include only suggestions and extension activities. Materials offer specific ways teachers can modify the material by teaching target skills in different ways. For children working at a Tier 2 level on syllables, the materials offer 18 different lessons with a variety of approaches to teaching syllables.
The Reports section contains classroom reports, student reports, and school reports. Instructional leaders have access to a coaching dashboard. The coaching dashboard allows for the documentation of coaching hours, coaching meetings, and aspects observed from the attribute checklists. Twice daily read-aloud lessons include a “Differentiate section” with suggestions of how to scaffold lesson concepts for children who need extra help. In Unit 3, teachers are guided to “Focus on just one shape.” Instead of identifying both triangles and rectangles. Teachers review the parts of a backhoe after the read-aloud, asking, “What is this? What does it do?” The differentiation suggestion is to ask, “Where are the wheels?” Allow the child to point using the picture.”
Some read-alouds leverage different activities to respond to student data. In “Dinner at the Panda Palace” Read 1, teachers are guided to help students count to 10. The differentiation suggestion then guides teachers to use student data to differentiate. The materials say, “Use Highest Number Counted data to select a new number to count up to.”
The Instructional Leader Collection in Canvas includes a module called FSG (Flexible Small Groups) Basics, which includes PowerPoint, videos, a webinar, and other resources to support educators, including administrators, to analyze and respond to data. The PowerPoint presentation walks educators through five steps to differentiate instruction: review data, create groups, identify essentials, instruct, and monitor. Slides specifically explain how to analyze data.
The materials include frequent, integrated progress monitoring opportunities that are routine and systematic and that accurately measure and track student progress. The frequency of progress monitoring is appropriate for the age and content skill.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials progress monitor all year in the domains of “Language,” “Literacy,” “Math,” and “Social and Emotional Development” or “Ready to Learn;” they progress monitor “Science” and “Social Studies” in the spring. The material also provides a suggested schedule of domain recommendations during the day; the monitoring can be recorded in the “Data App.” The Data App can accurately measure and track child progress in all domains. The materials also include checkpoints (described as short, naturalistic assessments) in the “Every Child Ready Texas Manual.” The checkpoints are aligned to skills taught in the materials. For example, in the “Flexible Small Group Plan” “Spatial Positions” math lessons, students do an activity in which they demonstrate an understanding of the words in front of. After this activity, the teacher can administer a brief checkpoint assessment for the skill. The checkpoint script guides the teacher to administer the assessment.
According to the manual, progress monitoring tools can be administered between two and five times per year. They provide the teachers with information about students’ letter knowledge and early writing skills; phonological awareness; oral language skills; print knowledge; math skills such as counting, quantification, number knowledge, and geometry; and social development. Materials provide sample videos as guides for teachers on administering the assessments. Additionally, checkpoints are available for content skills that are administered at a frequency appropriate for age. For example, the Flexible Small Group Plans contain 10 lessons that target using the properties of shapes to identify two- and three-dimensional shapes. There are four checkpoint assessments in the materials to check for understanding of this standard.
The instructional materials include guidance, scaffolds, supports, and extensions that maximize student learning potential. The materials provide recommended targeted instruction and activities for students who struggle to master content. The materials also provide recommended targeted instruction and activities for students who have mastered content. There are some opportunities for downward and upward scaffolding and differentiation within the flexible small group lessons. The materials reviewed do provide additional enrichment activities for all levels of learners. The instructional materials do not provide instructional strategies that address various accessibility needs or guidance for Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities (PPCD).
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials provide recommended targeted instruction and activities for students who struggle to master content. Materials provide these activities in the “Flexible Small Group Plans.” The Flexible Small Group Plans consist of Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 lessons. Tier 1 lessons build off of whole group lessons and offer support and additional practice for students. An example of a Tier 1 lesson involving rhyming words asks students to identify if two sounds are the same or different. Tier 2 lessons are based on the whole group lessons and target a skill that needs further development. An example of a Tier 2 lesson involving rhyming words asks students to identify if two objects are the same or different. Tier 3 lessons are based on the whole group lessons and target a skill that needs even further development than in Tier 2. An example of a Tier 3 lesson involving rhyming words asks students to identify if two objects are the same.
In a Tier 1 literacy lesson, an example of downward differentiation involves the further review of the concept of end. In an activity to support this concept, the teacher places students in a line. The teacher explains to the students that a line has a beginning and an end. The teacher says, “Student A is at the beginning of the line. This person is at the start of the line. Say, ‘beginning.’ This person is at the end of the line. Say, ‘end.’” The teacher hands a paper with the words The End to the student at the end of the line to hold. “Student B is holding up a sign that says, ‘The End.’ Everyone say, ‘The End.’ Who is at the end of the line?” The teacher rotates the students in line, so each student has a chance to be at the end of the line. Each time, the teacher asks, “Now, who is at the end of the line?”
In a Tier 2 lesson, the material suggests to downward differentiate by providing only two objects, pictures, or sounds to ask students if they are the same or different. In a lesson about adjectives, students are provided visual support and sentence stems. The teacher explains to students that they will state the color of the item using sentences. The teacher activates prior knowledge and says, “Before we use sentences, let’s talk about colors.” The teacher uses color cards one at a time; students identify the color on the card. The teacher uses explicit instructions and focuses on only 2–3 colors. It is also suggested that, if students do not know any colors, to change out the colors for more familiar adjectives. In a Tier 2 flexible small group rote counting lesson, the downward differentiation allows the students to practice counting to lower numbers instead of counting to 30. In a Tier 3 flexible small group rote counting lesson, students rote count using movements. Downward differentiation includes the same language as in the Tier 2 lesson — students count to a lower number — and additionally includes, “If a movement is physically difficult for the child, adapt the movements.”
In a Tier 3 lesson, the teacher develops student vocabulary during the introduction and throughout the lesson. The teacher models turn-taking by giving directions of what to color and then coloring. Downward differentiation includes limiting the color selection to 2–3 colors and offering a simplified picture with simple items to color.
The materials include targeted instruction and activities for students who have mastered content: There is provided teacher-guided upward differentiation within the Flexible Small Group Plans. For example, in a Tier 1 math lesson that focuses on one-to-one correspondence, the teacher asks students to match bears to chairs up to a quantity of three. The upward differentiation suggestion is that students use 4–6 cubes and bears to complete the activity; the materials also suggest, “You might also have children demonstrate counting by saying the number name as they match each bear to a cube.”
In the Flexible Small Group Plans, the “Literacy” section includes ten “Accelerated Literacy Lessons.” In one of the accelerated lessons, students practice making and reading new words by substituting initial letters. Students use letter cards to combine onset-rimes to make -ot words. Students have the opportunity to extend and explore new learning in centers; they are given sentence strips with the word not written several times with a yellow highlighter to trace and practice writing. In another activity, after reviewing the end and middle sound of -ock family words, the teacher asks children to substitute the beginning sound of sock with another given sound. The teacher addresses elision and asks children what the word will be if you take away the initial sound.
In the “Every Child Ready Texas User Manual,” there is a “Question Taxonomy,” which provides open-ended higher-order thinking question stems for scaffolding, such as “What do you think?” “What happens if?” and “What would you do if?”
The materials provide additional enrichment activities for all levels of learners, which are found in the daily lessons. The materials include eight suggested centers, such as “Art Easel,” “Art Studio,” “Construction Zone,” “Dramatic Play,” “Exploration Station,” “Investigation Location,” and “Library.” Follow-up activities allow students further opportunities to explore and apply new learning. For example, in Unit 1, the Art Studio suggestions are “Family Collages,” “Decorating Invitations,” “Painting Gigi’s House,” and “Feelings Puppets.” Each week the theme of the Dramatic Play center changes to reflect that week’s theme.
In Unit 7, through the use of “Learning Lab” lessons, students explore and apply new learning through project-based exploration. For example, students observe and sequence the life cycle of a darkling beetle and create darkling beetle life cycle art. The following week, they explore habitats and how animals adapt to survive, with hands-on exploration; for instance, when discussing how arctic animals stay warm, students experiment with how to keep their hands warm in a bucket of ice water, using oven mitts, shortening (blubber), and plastic wrap.
In Unit 9, the “Centers Facilitation Guide” lists vocabulary, questions, and play supports for the teacher to utilize at center time. Dramatic Play suggestions include a flower shop, visiting a national park, a recycling center, and weather. Materials build upon previously introduced lessons. The materials do build off of student interests or developmental levels.
Materials build off student developmental levels by offering differentiation suggestions for every read aloud. They also provide three tiers of instruction for the following content and skills:
Language: Comprehension, Descriptive Language, Expressive language, Story Structure, Narrative Retell, Conversation, Vocabulary, Oral Grammar, Informational Text, Narrative Construction, Articulation; Literacy: Syllables, Rhyming Words, Compound Words, Phonemes, Initial & Final Sounds, Book Appreciation & Knowledge, Purposes of Writing, Print Awareness, Letter Knowledge & Sounds, Letter Writing, Conventions; Math: One-to-One Correspondence, Rote Counting, Rational Counting, Quantification, Numeral Identification, Numeral Writing, Comparative Value, Addition Strategies, Classification, Ordering, Patterns, Graph Comprehension, Shape Identification, Shape Composition, Spatial Positions, Measure (Length, Height, Weight, Volume, Area), Subtraction Strategies, Graph Construction; “Social-Emotional Learning”: Emotion Understanding, Emotion Regulation and Impulse Control, Self-Concept, Independence/Initiative, Social Skills, Relationship Skills, Social Decision Making/Conflict Resolution.
The materials provide a variety of instructional methods such as flexible groups, whole group instruction, and center time, but the learning experiences for individual exploration are limited. The materials include guidance for teachers on how and when to provide support for students who require one-on-one attention.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include a variety of instructional strategies in order to meet different learning needs. In Thematic Units 1–10, instructional strategies include direct teaching during “Morning Meeting,” “Centers Meetings,” “Learning Labs,” “AM” and “PM Read-Alouds”; these incorporate teacher modeling, repeated exposure, musical connections, and hands-on manipulatives as well as address fine and gross motor abilities. Small group individualized instruction is addressed in the read-aloud sessions.
Differentiation is included in the ECR Quality Indicators Observation Tool (QI). The Domain 1 video in the QI training helps teachers understand what teacher scaffolding is- “assistance within a student’s zone of proximal development to enable the student to perform at a higher level.” The “Using Data to Support All Children” module in the High-Quality Environment course provides a video walking teachers through a 4 step process to differentiate the environment based on student assessment data. The teacher describes specific items she will add to certain centers to support students master the concept of blending and segmenting compound words.
The materials provide twice-daily Center times with multiple opportunities for individual exploration in 8 centers. Center lesson plans provide a high level of detail in including open-ended and scaffolded questions to help teachers to support students in purposeful learning. In Unit 3, the “Investigation Location” center, teachers receive the following guidance: "Help children sort shapes. Hmm, what shape is this? How do you know? How many sides does a ___ have? How many corners does a ___ have? Let’s put the ___ together. Which container should hold the ___?” In Number Fun, teachers are prompted to help children identify and match numbers. Teachers use number formation talk to facilitate number writing. They are prompted to say, “A two is a curve, slant down, across. Can you trace the two using the bulldozer?”
In “Play Support,” they tell students when sorting shapes, “Pretend you are a construction worker tidying up the construction site. Look at all these shapes. They are leftover from building a house. I need to tidy or clean up the construction site. Begin sorting the shapes. This is a triangle; I am going to put it here with the other triangle. Writing Prompt: Help children trace or write numbers." This level of support is provided for every center daily. The center lesson plans change weekly.
The “Flexible Small Group Plans” (FSGP) include multiple teaching strategies to meet children’s different learning needs. In a Tier 1 lesson, the teacher models how to make an ABC pattern. After modeling, the students practice the pattern independently, with hands-on manipulatives. In another Tier 1 lesson, the plan overview supports lesson delivery by indicating that the first two lessons each week only review two letters. It communicates to the teacher that this is intentional and asks not to decrease this to one. The FSGP also includes a number of lessons that allow for opportunities to practice new skills in various ways. For example, Tier 1 “Math Patterns” FSGP includes 36 lessons. The plan overview notes: “Once children have a basic understanding of simple and advanced patterns, they will be encouraged to see patterns in their world around them. Finally, children will begin to create their own simple and advanced patterns.” The FSGP lesson format includes a teacher introduction, teacher modeling, and student practice.
In a Tier 2 lesson, the teacher models how to produce a rhyme with the words at and cat. After modeling, the students use hand movements to practice words that rhyme with at, responding independently to specific teacher directions (e.g., “What words rhyme with at?”) A Tier 3 lesson begins with a plan overview that explains the ages when children begin to have expressive vocabulary and the purpose of teachers working to expand children’s vocabulary. Materials allow for the use of flexible groupings of children throughout the day. For example, each day’s plan includes whole group meetings; small group lessons that address Tier 1, 2, and 3 lessons to meet students’ current learning level in the areas of Language, Literacy, Math, Social Skill development, Articulation, and Dual Language Learners; individual time with the teacher; and center times. Lessons are tiered to support children who need additional attention on specific skills.
The “Every Child Ready Texas Manual” notes: “Tiered Small Group plans are designed for children who need support beyond Tier 1. Tiered interventions are used with small groups or individual children.” A Tier 1 FSGP notes that it is meant to be utilized with students who know fewer than 13 letters. The Tier 2 plan notes that it is meant to be utilized with students who know fewer than 10 letters. The Tier 3 plan notes that it focuses on two letters intentionally.
In Unit 3, accessible through the “Flexible Small Group Guide,” there are tiered math lessons related to shape composition. In a Tier 1 lesson, the teacher introduces the lesson and says, “We have been making shapes. Today we are going to make a square and a rhombus.” The teacher models the lesson for the students and talks aloud through the process of creating a square using craft sticks: “I have four craft sticks that are the same length (teacher places sticks randomly). Is this a square? Let me try again (the teacher makes an accurate square). Is this a square? Yes! I have four sides and four corners.” The teacher releases students into creating a square and a rhombus, guiding them throughout the process. The “Centers Facilitation Guide” (CFP) in Unit 3 provides an opportunity for applied learning. The guide provides the teacher with questions to facilitate guided discussions at the “Art Easel” center: “Look at your building. Do you see any shapes? Hmm, I see a shape with four sides and four corners.” The guide also includes a writing prompt instructing students to label the type of building they painted and supports for teachers to model painting with sponges and stamps. In the “Construction” center, the lesson provides a list of materials needed, facilitation, and play support for the content. The weekly units provide lessons for all the centers and learning labs that help facilitate learning, as stated in the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines.
In Unit 4, the CFP lists vocabulary for teachers to introduce at the “Exploration Station.” It also provides questions to ask in the center: “What is an island? Does your island look like any of the islands in the pictures? How did Pezzettino get on your island?” During a small group lesson, the teacher introduces making right choices. The teacher models how to play the game “Would You Rather?” saying, “During Centers, would I rather paint at Art Studio or build in Construction Zone? Hmm, I would rather build in Construction Zone because I like playing with blocks! I just made a decision!” The teacher and students then play the game together. One student chooses the Morning Meeting song at the conclusion of the lesson, and the students practice making choices all day.
In Unit 6, students learn about the parts of the body and body systems. The lesson explores healthy habits such as exercise, eating well, dental care, and positive self-esteem. Students learn about doctors and dentists and how they keep us healthy. Finally, students learn about how to keep their bodies safe, including bike and pedestrian safety. “Essential Questions” include “What are the basic parts of my body?” and “How can I keep my body safe?” The CFP allows students to put this learning into practice. At the “Art Studio” station, students create a “Healthy Habits Collage.” Students find pictures from magazines or provided images and sort them according to the appropriate healthy habit. At the “Writing” center, students create a poster about a safety rule that has been discussed. Students share that poster with their peers and the teacher. The teacher asks, “Why is it important to stay safe? How can you stay safe when you ride your bike? How can you stay safe on the bus? What would you tell others about being safe?”
In Unit 10, each week, students create projects during the “Learning Lab.” The lessons are progressive and build upon the previous day; for example, the lesson progression includes “Make a Plan,” “Draw a Design,” “Time to Build,” “Let’s Test,” and “What Happened?” In this unit, there are four projects: “Balloon-Powered Car,” “A Boat That Will Float,” “Playdough Marble Maze,” and “My Playground.” All projects begin with a shared activity, Make a Plan, which is guided by the teacher. However, only one project, A Boat That Will Float, has students collaborate on the project beyond the initial whole group lesson. In the “Engage and Explore” portion of the lesson, the teacher says, “Now it’s your turn! Remember, with your partner, review your design before you start building to make sure there is nothing you want to change.” The other projects, Balloon-Powered Car, Playdough Marble Maze, and My Playground allow for students to work independently, including during center time.
There are many times when students collaborate outside the initial whole group lesson. Here are examples:
Creating a mural together (read aloud) “How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends?,” practicing non-verbal communication together (Flexible small group), competing in a relay together (gross motor) animal relay, and practicing initiating peer interactions together (morning meeting).
The materials include minimal accommodations for linguistics commensurate with various levels of English language proficiency. The materials include the direction to scaffold questioning but do not provide examples of how to scaffold questioning or references to language proficiency levels. Some scaffolds are integrated and meant for all learners; they include visual supports, videos, and explanations and examples of vocabulary words. The materials provide some support for English Learners (ELs) throughout lessons that are meant to help all students, not specifically those that speak a different home language. The materials do not encourage strategic use of students’ first language as a means to develop linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic development, even in the “Dual Language” small group lessons.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide a “Question Quick Reference for Scaffolded Language Support,” which includes samples of sentence stems: closed-ended literal stems, open-ended literal stems, and open-ended higher-order thinking stems. These questions are available for teachers to support ELs and native English speakers in the units. The materials do not provide individual lessons guiding the teacher to use this document. The materials provide the Flexible Small Group Plans, which include lessons that focus primarily on language development, including the areas of “Comprehension,” “Expression,” and “Vocabulary.” These lessons are available in Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3. However, these lessons do not provide explicit teacher guidance for intentional scaffolding for ELs in a variety of content areas. All supports provided are in the language/literacy content area.
Flexible small group lessons support linguistic skills for all students, but they do not provide guidance for students within the large group unit lessons. For example, in a “Dual Language” flexible small group lesson, students describe clothing with four- to six-word responses. Students watch a video that has a song about wearing clothes. After the video, the teacher says, “I heard some clothing words in that video. We are going to talk about clothes and the body parts that match them! I have a hat. I wear a hat on my head.” The students then describe their item and make a complex sentence. The teacher can differentiate downward to create simpler prompts so that children only use two to three words in their responses. The teacher allows children to use only phrases, models complete sentences each time, and creates a center with clothing for students to practice making sentences spontaneously.
The materials include “Approaches to Learning Standards,” which are based on the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA); these are essential skills to develop cognitive, metacognitive, and social/affective learning skills in preschool children, including those students who are ELs. For example, in a “Question of the Day” lesson, children activate prior knowledge of maps and other geological features and answer the question “What do you think we will learn about this week?” The standard addresses the CALLA strategies and has all children, not just ELs, make inferences using context and previous knowledge to determine meaning and draw conclusions. Photographs of geological features with labels such as mountain, volcano, and river are posted on chart paper along with a picture of a map. Students review the pictures as the teacher explains one or two of them. The teacher records the students’ responses in a shared writing activity.
In “Dual Language Learners” Unit 5, three lessons are using the book Anansi the Spider. In the first small group reading of this book, the focus is on learning new vocabulary words. The teacher places cards with a written vocabulary word and a visual of it in front of the students. The materials direct the teacher to have children repeat the vocabulary words after they are read in the story and suggest that if a child is still in the silent stage, it’s ok if they do not repeat. During the second lesson, the children draw a picture of their favorite vocabulary word from the story. Other strategies used in the lesson to support children at different English language proficiency levels have children orally identify the vocabulary word or point to it.
The materials include an “Online Professional Learning Course Catalog” with a number of available courses. These courses do not include a course specific to teaching ELs. For example, some of the courses available cover the subjects of read-alouds, journaling, high-quality environment, and narrative comprehension. However, there is not a course available to guide teachers on best practices for teaching ELs. Additionally, the materials include “Every Child Ready Research”; however, the research does not make reference to ELs. For example, the research refers to response to intervention, early writing, and STEM in early childhood, but it does not include information specific to ELs. Furthermore, the lessons do not guide the teacher to use the child’s first language as the foundation for developing skills in English.
In Unit 2, children learn about community helpers. The teacher begins the activity by telling the children they are going to learn a new word, community. The teacher provides students with a definition: “A community is people who live in the same place or area.” The teacher shows the children one photograph representing a community and says, “Our school is in a community! What are some things you see on your way to school?” Accommodations or effective strategies for ELs are not noted in this lesson.
In Unit 4, during a read-aloud lesson of In the Car, students use context clues from the story to determine how the characters are feeling. Throughout the lesson, the teacher highlights and explains key vocabulary. For example, the teacher says, “Traffic means a line of stopped cars on the road. Say, ‘traffic.’ Monica and her brother are grumpy. Grumpy means in a bad mood. Say, ‘grumpy.’ If you feel grumpy, you might cross your arms and push your lips out.” After reading, the children identify different emotions by referencing facial expressions and body language. The materials direct the teacher to provide differentiation by using the illustrations, which highlight the character’s facial features and body language. The materials include minimal accommodations for linguistics commensurate with various levels of English language proficiency. There is guidance to scaffold questioning, but the materials do not include references to language proficiency levels. Some scaffolds, which are meant for all learners, include visual supports, videos, and explanations and examples of vocabulary words.
The materials include year-long plans with practice and review opportunities that support instruction. The materials include a cohesive, year-long plan to build students’ concept development and consider how to vertically align instruction that builds year to year. The materials provide review and practice of knowledge and skills in all domains throughout the span of the curriculum.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide 10 specific thematic units that are aligned with the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines and contain a week’s worth of daily lessons. Each specific unit includes both “Preschool” and “Prekindergarten” units. The Preschool units are for use with three-year-old students; the Prekindergarten units are for use with four-year-old students. The materials provide an introduction to each unit, which includes a description of the unit, “Essential Questions” for the teacher to ask, core vocabulary, “CALLA” strategies, a centers facilitation guide, and daily lesson plans. The materials provide a “Phonological Awareness Scope and Sequence,” which provides the scope and sequence of skills that are taught throughout the ten thematic units. The addressed phonological awareness skills include syllables, rhyming words, compound words, phonemes, and initial and final sounds. The materials target a progression of skills that include phonological awareness and basic decoding using letter sounds and blends. The “Research” document states that the “Accelerated Literacy Curriculum” aligns with research for early literacy and reading.
The materials include “Flexible Small Group Plans” in the domains of “Language,” “Literacy,” “Math,” and “Social and Emotional Development.” There are several lessons that allow for content delivery throughout the year. For example, in Unit 1, students participate in small group lessons in which they practice paying attention and complying with two-step directions. In Unit 4, students expand on these skills in small group lessons in which they consider the importance of making decisions, body orientation, and eye contact to show listening. Additionally, Flexible Small Group Plan lessons, such as math lessons on rote counting, numeral writing, and patterns, are connected to concepts taught in later grades. The materials also include repeated opportunities for reviewing and practicing skills across all domains. The students review skills during small group lessons, centers, gross motor activities, or “Learning Lab” activities.
The materials include implementation support for teachers and administrators. The materials are accompanied by a scope and sequence aligned to the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines, which outlines the essential knowledge and skills taught in the program, the order in which they are presented, and how knowledge and skills build and connect across grade levels. The materials include supports to help teachers implement the materials as intended. The materials include resources and guidance to help administrators support teachers in implementing the materials as intended. The materials include a school year’s work of prekindergarten instruction, including realistic pacing guidance and routines.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Texas User Manual” provides a scope and sequence that encompasses the components of literacy, including phonological awareness, writing, reading, book and print knowledge, letter knowledge, and accelerated literacy. The materials also list a math scope and sequence that targets one-to-one correspondence, rote counting, quantification, numeral identification, numeral writing, comparative value, and addition strategies in each lesson.
The materials include the “Every Child Ready Platform Video,” which gives an overview of the online platform. This platform includes the “Instructional Leader Dashboard,” which provides a snapshot of classroom data, the Texas Standards, “Thematic Curriculum,” “Daily Lessons Overview,” “Flexible Small Group Lesson Overview,” “Planning Mode,” “Canvas,” and “Digital Learning Resources.” The Canvas application includes “Online Courses” and “Digital Resource” focused on early childhood pedagogy and content. “Professional Learning Courses” on Canvas include “Texas Resources,” “High-Quality Environment,” “Journaling,” “Narrative Comprehension,” “Read-Aloud,” “Instructional Leader Collection Course,” “Summer EQIL Training 2019,” and |Summer Institute Training 2019.” Listed under Texas Resources are the “User Manual;” scope and sequences for “Literacy,” “Language,” and “Math” domains; and “The Calming Space Manual,” all which relate to the classroom experience and can be applied directly to lessons.
The materials include coaching data as guidance for administrators to support teachers. The coaching materials track coaching hours, virtual teaching checklists, and classroom management checklists. The materials also include the “Instructional Leader Collection,” which is a series of training packages that focus on the professional needs and growth of early childhood teachers and leaders. Each package supports instructional leaders and/or mentors in facilitating face-to-face workshops. Leaders using the “Every Child Ready Instructional Model” can access the materials at any time.
The “Every Child Ready Thematic Curriculum” is the backbone of the larger curricular program. Each four-week unit includes “Essential Questions;” high-quality, diverse children’s literature; core vocabulary; prefilled weekly lesson grids; scripted lessons for each component of the day; engaging reproducibles; picture-word cards; and posters. Teachers can customize the thematic experience for their class using the planning tool, which allows for multiple teachers to plan for multiple classes and allows for streamlined co-teaching. Thematic units focus on overarching concepts and are broken into smaller weekly concepts that can be explored thoroughly by students during read-alouds, “Morning Meeting,” “Learning Lab,” “Questions of the Day,” journaling, and play centers. During the day, small group instruction is provided twice a day to highlight standards-based instruction determined by student developmental level.
The materials provide implementation guidance to meet variability in programmatic design and scheduling considerations. The materials provide guidance for strategic implementation without disrupting the sequence of content that must be taught in a specific order following a developmental progression. The materials are designed in a way that allows LEAs the ability to incorporate the curriculum into district, campus, and teacher programmatic design and scheduling considerations.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include a strategic scope and sequence for writing, literacy, and math concepts that align throughout the year-long curriculum and follow a developmental progression. There are 10 thematic units that address the spiraled skills shown in the scope and sequence. Within the units, flexible small group time addresses specific student needs in the five overarching domains of “Language,” “Literacy,” “Articulation,” “Math,” and “Social and Emotional Development.” The scope and sequences state which skills are being taught in which thematic units and show how they are scaffolded throughout the year. The sequence of content is embedded within the thematic units; the sequence can reinforce specific skills via teacher-planned small group instruction that does not disrupt the thematic content or assigned skill during that unit.
The materials provide support for half-day and full-day programs and provide suggested full-day and half-day schedules. The material provides a digital platform with prefilled weekly lesson grids, scripted lessons for each component of the day, engaging reproducibles, picture-word cards, and posters. The digital format allows a teacher to organize the lesson for the day and week, including lessons and activities designed for each component of the daily schedule as recommended by the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines.
The materials provide guidance on fostering connections between home and school. The materials support the development of strong relationships between teachers and families. The materials specify activities for use at home to support students’ learning and development.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide “Teacher Family Engagement Resources” for each thematic unit. There is weekly homework that builds on classroom instruction and engages families; it is available in English, Spanish, and Amharic. “Unit Letters” explain the unit’s theme and suggest activities to try at home. “Quarterly Progress Reports” provide snapshots of students’ progress that teachers can share with families. Additionally, the materials provide family resources, such as weekly lessons and YouTube videos, which support families in distance learning, as well as “Family Book Brochures,” which encourage families to read together and discuss what students learned at school. Beginning-of-the-year recommendations also include posting pictures of the students’ families, to encourage diversity, and to build the relationship between home and school.
The materials include online parent access to resources called “Noggin and Sparkler.” The at-home unit materials list activities with pictures, core vocabulary, and plans for the components of the weekly lessons. The detailed, at-home learning list provides suggestions and activities to support the material and can be easily used by families. The at-home learning materials consist of detailed lessons in all of the domains of the prekindergarten standards. The materials provide direct instructions for parents to use at home to facilitate appropriate and developmental learning for young children.
The visual design of student and teacher materials, whether print or digital, is neither distracting nor chaotic. The materials include appropriate use of white space and design that supports and does not distract from student learning. The pictures and graphics are supportive of student learning and engagement without being visually distracting.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials contain printable material that is clear and easy to see for young children. The text picture cards contain real pictures and a simple black print of the words. The visuals contain child-friendly pictures as well as written directions. A read-aloud lesson in Unit 1 includes feelings cards and animal picture cards. The feelings cards include illustrations representing diverse children that clearly show a variety of feelings, such as angry and sad. The animal picture cards are photographs of animals representing feelings such as tired and proud. These photographs also include the written emotion. Reproducibles also include “Bar Graph Posters,” “Comic Books,” and “Cube” templates, included to support lessons within the thematic unit. These reproducibles are black and white and include white space for students to fill in responses.
The materials include authentic pictures in color, online print vocabulary cards that include a real picture in color and black-and-white text words. The pictures and graphics adhere to the “User Interface Design” guidelines with clear, colorful, large pictures for children to see in the classroom setting. The reproducibles have a clear, simple, black-and-white design in order to minimize students’ cognitive overload.
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