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The quality review is the result of extensive evidence gathering and analysis by Texas educators of how well instructional materials satisfy the criteria for quality in the subject-specific rubric. Follow the links below to view the scores and read the evidence used to determine quality.
Section 1. Spanish Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
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TEKS Teacher %
ELPS Student %
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Section 2. Texts
Section 3. Literacy Practices and Text Interactions
Section 4. Developing and Sustaining Foundational Literacy Skills
Section 5. Progress Monitoring
Section 6. Supports for All Learners
Section 7. Implementation
Section 8. Bilingual Program Model Considerations
Section 9. Additional Information
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
The materials include high-quality texts for Spanish Language Arts and Reading instruction and cover a range of student interests. The texts are well crafted by experts in various disciplines and provide high-quality content, language, and writing experiences for students. Reading selections encompass increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and multicultural texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, students explore the genre of narrative nonfiction with the story De campamento con el presidente by Ginger Wadsworth. The second genre is realistic fiction. Students examine the theme of “¿Cómo conseguimos lo que nos hace falta?” with shared reading of Travesía de la gran ciudad and the anchor text Ecos del desierto by Mexican author Silvia Dubovoy. To conclude Unit 1, students read argumentative texts about technology: ¿Los dispositivos electrónicos son buenos para nosotros? and El futuro del transporte.
Unit 2 begins with a two-week study of expository text framed by the “Essential Question” “¿Qué hacen los que son buenos resolviendo problemas?” Students read paired historical texts about the founding of the U.S.: ¿Quién escribió la Constitución and Forjadoras de palabras. The next genre study in Unit 2 is “cuentos folclóricos.” Through the anchor text, La piedra del Zamuro by Rafael Rivero Oramas, students explore how the main character struggles to overcome tremendous obstacles to achieve a goal. The final genre of Unit 2 is poetry. Through a shared reading of “Un viaje a las nubes” by Lucio Tomaz, the teacher guides students to use poetic features to make predictions while learning about Leonardo Da Vinci’s dreams. To conclude the unit, students read paired poems: “Geología” by Claudia Masín and “Ilusión” by Milagros Terán.
Unit 3 features contemporary fiction pieces: Esperanza renace by Pam Muñoz Ryan and Una mochila cargada de historias by Rene Colato Lainez. The next genre of Unit 3 is expository text. Students read La cola de Winter by Uliana, Isabella, and Craig Hatkoff to learn about the theme of teamwork. Unit 3 concludes with argumentative text. The teacher and students complete a shared reading of the Time for Kids article “¿Cuál era el proposition de las cuerdas incas?” and a close reading of the anchor text, Machu Picchu: ciudad antigua.
In Unit 4, students read biographies, drama, and poetry. The featured biography is El rey de las octavas, which is about a young Afro-Cuban violinist named Claudio Brindis de Salas who studied at the Paris Conservatory of Music in 1871. Next, students study the genre of drama through readings of the play El reglamento es el reglamento by Adela Basch and the legend Un chico, un caballo, y un violín retold by Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis. The unit concludes with classic poetry: “Oda a la cebolla” by Pablo Neruda and “La Tierra” by Gabriela Mistral.
The theme of Unit 5 is “Nuevas perspectivas.” Students read paired persuasive articles to explore scientific points of view: “El caso de las abejas desaparecidas” and “Las ocupadas y beneficiosas abejas.” Students also enjoy an expository text entitled Las ruinas indias by José Martí to explore the theme of adapting to change.
Unit 6 begins with historical fiction entitled El código indescifrable by Sara Hoagland Hunter. The text narrates the story of Navajo soldiers who developed an unbreakable code during World War II. The teacher explains that the author traveled to the southwest to immerse herself in the lives of the Navajo to represent their story faithfully. Unit 6 also includes expository text entitled Océanos misteriosos and Superviviencia a 40 bajo cero. To conclude the unit, students read a classic poem (“Caupolicán” by Rubén Darío) about the leader of the Mapuche people of Chile, paired with a traditional poem of the Araucano people of Chile and Argentina called “¿Quién es?”
Finally, the ”Libros por nivel” section found in the“Carpeta de recursos” provides additional readings that vary in reading complexity, genre, discipline, and cultural background. For example, Amenaza para los océanos, an expository text, explains the effects of “el consumo de combustibles fósiles” on carbon dioxide levels and the blooming of harmful algae in the sea. The Carpeta de recursos has 90 titles for small group and independent reading encompassing various genres (e.g., historical fiction, biography, folklore, myths, and drama.)
The materials include a variety of literary genres and informational text types that meet the requirements of the TEKS. Informational texts feature exposition, argumentative, and procedural text types; there are print and graphic features of a variety of texts. The informational and argumentative texts correspond to fifth-grade science and social studies TEKS. The materials also provide opportunities for students to recognize and analyze characteristics of multimodal and digital texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, students focus on the genres of narrative nonfiction, realistic fiction, and argumentative text while accessing multimodal features to enhance understanding. The first anchor text, “Campamento del president,” is about Theodore Roosevelt’s trip to Yosemite. As students read, they reflect on the “Essential Question” “¿Cómo puede una vivencia cambiar tu manera de pensar sobre la naturaleza?” Students demonstrate understanding of the text structure by completing a digital cause-and-effect graphic organizer. In the introduction to realistic fiction, students watch a brief concept video about the Essential Question “¿Cómo conseguimos lo que nos hace falta?” and complete a main idea web digitally or by hand. The teacher guide for Unit 1 lists the key features of argumentative text and provides lesson ideas and teacher guidance. For example, “Destreza: punto de vista del autor” provides tips for the teacher to think aloud and asks students to predict additional evidence that the author could use to sustain their argument.
In Unit 2, students read texts that connect to fifth-grade social studies TEKS. The first theme is solving problems. The teacher and students complete a shared reading of “¿La creación de una nación?” followed by the anchor text “¿Quién escribió la Constitución de Estados Unidos?” Later in Unit 2, students read a “Reader’s Theater” titled “Un muchacho llamado Abe” and learn about Abraham Lincoln’s life from age 7 to adulthood.
Unit 2 also includes texts with rich print and graphic features to promote comprehension. For example, while reading about the founding of our nation, the teacher demonstrates how to use “encabezados y líneas cronológicas.” Students practice and extend this skill while reading about the history of the Constitution. The Time for Kids article “Machu Picchu: Ciudad antigua” is an argumentative text; students access and discuss the photos, captions, diagrams, headings, and bolded words while reading.
In Unit 3, students explore the theme of teamwork while reading texts that connect to fifth-grade science TEKS. The shared reading text, “Superhéroes del derrame del Golfo,” explores the effects of an oil spill on a marine ecosystem and the recovery efforts undertaken by a team of scientists.
In Unit 4, the expository text “Nuestras voces, nuestros votos” explores social studies content while highlighting the importance of text features (i.e., headings, images, captions, bolded words, and a timeline). One of the images included is a portrait of Abigail Adams. The caption accompanying the image reads, “Abigail Adams apoyó el derecho al voto de la mujer.” The timeline included in the text pinpoints pivotal events surrounding the “Extensión del voto” to include men of all races and later on women.
In Unit 6, students read informational text related to social studies and science TEKS and learn about literary devices through poetry. “El código indescifrable” about Navajo code-talkers includes a map of the world showing countries involved in World War II as well as captions, headings, and boldface words to support comprehension. “Supervivencia a 40 bajo cero” explains how animals adapt to extreme temperatures. The Essential Question “How do living things adapt to their environments?” guides students’ understanding of science standards. Unit 6 concludes with poetry. Students read “Este niño Don Simón” by Manuel Felipe Rugeles, “Pintar un mundo” by Rodolfo Dada, and “¡Sorpresa!” by Rodolfo Dada. The teacher previews the text’s structure by briefly explaining the most common elements of poetry, such as rhythm, rhyme, stanzas, and repetitive words. Students demonstrate understanding of the language arts standard by answering questions about sound devices and figurative language, such as “¿Con qué palabras se forma la asonancia?”
The leveled books found in the “Carpeta de recursos” provide access to additional expository texts, some of these related to science and social studies standards. For example, “Criaturas de las cuevas” provides information about how cave-dwelling creatures adapt to their environment to survive. This selection is available online and contains text-to-speech features. The online component allows students to take digital notes and annotate. The leveled text “La Declaración de Derechos” contributes to understanding the Bill of Rights and its continued importance today. It concludes with a “Expresa tu opinión” prompt that asks students to consider how and why citizens should let legislators know what they think.
The materials are appropriately challenging and are at an appropriate level of complexity to support fifth-grade students. The publisher provides a text-complexity analysis that includes information about the quantitative and qualitative features of the texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Quantitative and qualitative considerations guide the teacher to understand the factors for text complexity. The digital “Teacher’s Edition” includes an overview of text complexity by Dr. Tim Shanahan and multiple videos that explain aspects of complexity (e.g., genre in informational text, organization in literature, and sentence structure in informational text). The teacher guide offers a detailed overview of the unit’s reading selections and includes a rationale for the educational purpose of the texts as well as their Lexile levels. For example, Unit 2 has an expository genre guide that explains why the texts La Creación de una nación (Lexile 660L), ¿Quién escribió la Constitución de Estados Unidos? (Lexile 770L), and Forjadoras de Palabras (Lexile 950L) were grouped in the same week. The guide states: “Students read and write about good problem-solvers during the Revolutionary War era” while exploring the “Essential Question” “¿Que hacen los que son buenos resolviendo problemas?”
The “Guía del maestro” resource includes “Suggested Lesson Plans” for each day of the genre study. The daily plans recommend a sequence of activities for whole group and small group instruction. Teachers find best practices ideas throughout this resource. For example, the second genre study of Unit 2 is “cuentos folclóricos.” The resource suggests previewing the genre with students by creating an anchor chart. The teacher guides students to “add characteristics of the genre to the anchor chart.” Though minutes of instruction are not included in these resources, the clear text analysis and unit overview give teachers a strong foundation for pacing the lesson appropriately and provide the support needed for students to master the content.
In addition, each whole group anchor text lesson in the digital Teacher’s Edition includes a “¿Qué hace complejo este texto?” tab. Teachers have access to a bulleted list of points for consideration that are particular to the text. For example, in Unit 3, the anchor text for realistic fiction is Esperanza renace by Pam Munoz Ryan. The text complexity tab informs teachers that prior knowledge, specific vocabulary, connection of ideas, and purpose contribute to the selection’s complexity. Teachers address these points through tips and strategies within the lesson plan.
The “Carpeta de recursos” includes a Guía del maestro for every unit with an overview and three genre booklets that address the complexity of the texts. Each booklet is organized similarly: key features of the genre, active engagement in learning, student outcomes, text set information, and suggested lesson plans. In the text set information portion of the guide, teachers find the Lexile level for the texts and designation as “Approaching, On Level, or Beyond.” The genre guide also includes text complexity information about the “Leveled Readers with Paired Reads” and “Genre Passages” recommended for small group intervention and extension. In addition, the digital edition allows teachers to search for leveled texts by guided reading or DRA level.
The digital Teacher’s Edition has an “Organizador semanal” in the “Plan” section. The outline for the week provides teachers with an overview of the whole group, small group, and Beyond level lessons for reading, writing, and spelling. By clicking on a specific date, teachers have access to detailed lesson plans for listening comprehension, shared reading, vocabulary, grammar, independent reading, and more. Unfortunately, Lexile levels for the unit texts do not appear in the digital “Organizador semanal.” Teachers have to navigate through multiple clicks to the genre guide for specific readability information.
Two additional resources for teachers support best practices for instructional delivery. The “Instructional Routines Handbook” and the “Wonders Suggested Lesson Plans and Pacing Guides” provide detailed information for teachers that address day-to-day instruction for 60- or 120-minute blocks of instruction. The pacing guide includes multi-tiered instructional tips for reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar and indicates suggested minutes for each component.
The materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, topics, themes, and connections within and across texts. Most questions and tasks are text-dependent, build conceptual knowledge, and integrate multiple TEKS. Through the questioning and tasks, students make connections (to self, to text, to the world) and discuss important ideas, themes, and details.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, students read an excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s autobiography that explains how a life experience changed how he thought about birds. Prior to reading, the teacher engages students in an analytic writing task focused on the “Essential Question” “¿Cómo puede una vivencia cambiar tu manera de pensar sobre la naturaleza?” The teacher guides students to compare this selection with the narrative nonfiction text about President Roosevelt that they read in the previous lesson. Students reread the selection to draw conclusions about the author’s craft and integrate their learning by making connections. The “Teacher’s Edition” explicitly includes text-to-text analysis with a section called “Texto y otros textos.” Students respond to questions such as “¿En qué se parece el viaje de Roosevelt a Inglaterra a otra vivencia con la naturaleza sobre la cual hayas leído? ¿En qué se diferencian ambas vivencias?”
In Unit 2, students examine increasingly complex elements of texts. During the first reading of La creación de una nación, tasks are concrete (e.g., “Identifican ideas y detalles clave sobre recursos.”) During the second reading, the student book includes prompts for students to make inferences and provide text evidence to support their answers. Students respond to questions such as “¿Qué puedes inferir sobre los delegados? Citan evidencias del texto.” To conclude the unit, students make personal connections to the text with the following prompt in the student workbook: “Piensen en situaciones estresantes que hayan vivido en lugares incómodos. ¿Cómo les permite esa experiencia comprender lo que sintieron los delegados durante la Convención?”
In Unit 3, students read realistic fiction and explore the Essential Question “¿Cómo nos enriquecen las diferencias?” The materials include a social studies-aligned research project (“Búsqueda de investigación”). Students investigate the customs, traditions, and festivities of a group of people and create a pamphlet they share with the class.
The Essential Question of Unit 4 is “¿Cómo expresas algo que es importante para ti?” Students explore the theme and author’s purpose with gradually complex questions and tasks. For example, students analyze the poetic devices of three poems (“Oda a la cebolla,” “Vegetaciones,” and “La Tierra”) to understand the theme of each one. While rereading the poems, students demonstrate understanding of the author’s craft by explaining how the poets use images to convey messages about nature in their workbooks. The unit concludes with a task that requires students to make connections across the three poems.
Unit 5 includes questions and tasks strategically sequenced to support students’ understanding of how scientific knowledge changes over time. For example, the Teacher’s Edition includes literal questions that address the theme (e.g., “¿Cómo se hacían observaciones visuales de cambios de la Tierra en el pasado?” and “¿Qué nuevo modelo del sistema solar propuso Copérnico?”) During the second reading of the text, students deepen their understanding of cause and effect with questions such as “¿Cómo contribuyó la telescopia a la investigación que hizo Galileo?”
In Unit 6, the historical fiction text El código indescifrable has embedded questions (e.g., “¿Cómo influye en Juan la historia del abuelo?” and “¿Por qué el abuelo abandona el internado?”) Students review the text and highlight evidence for their answers. The final page of the text includes a question under the heading “Hacer conexiones.” Students think about different people they know or have read about that came together for a cause. The question says, “Da otro ejemplo sobre personas de diferentes orígenes que trabajan juntas por una causa.”
Throughout the units, the color-coding system of questions and tasks by the depth of knowledge is consistent, guiding teachers to build toward complex cognitive tasks by the end of the unit. In addition, each genre study includes a two-week science or social studies research project. Students learn a specific study skill as they work on their project and present it to the class upon completion.
The materials contain questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Questions and tasks support students’ understanding of texts’ literary and textual elements by asking students to analyze, make inferences, and draw conclusions about the author’s purpose. Students also compare and contrast different authors’ stated or implied purposes and authors’ choices for communicating with readers. The questions and tasks require students to make and correct or confirm predictions and study the language within texts to support understanding.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, students explore the genre of narrative nonfiction during a shared reading of Una vida en el bosque. The teacher tells students to consider the “Essential Question” “¿Cómo puede una vivencia cambiar tu manera de pensar sobre la naturaleza?” while reading and annotating in the margins about interesting words and details they find in the text. Students develop an understanding of the cause-and-effect text structure through specific questions such as “¿Qué efecto tuvo en Thoreau salir del pueblo?” and “¿Qué efecto tuvo en su escritura la experiencia de Thoreau en el lago Walden?” Students also analyze text features (e.g., an excerpt from Thoreau’s journal) and consider how the journal entry supports the cause-and-effect text structure.
In Unit 2, students analyze literary and textual elements while reading a folktale about how a rabbit manages to defeat stronger animals. The selection includes questions that ask the students to make inferences and predictions about the text and confirm them with text evidence. For example, “¿Por qué el Tío Conejo persigue al Rey Zamuro? Sigue las pistas del texto para hacer una predicción.” “¿Crees qué Tío Conejo necesita la piedra del Rey Zamuro para vencer a los animales más grandes? Fíjate en las ilustraciones y en el texto para revisar tu predicción anterior.” During the anchor text lesson cycle, the teacher models making predictions by thinking aloud and then encourages the students to apply the strategy by thinking aloud themselves. The lesson plans also include sections called “Enfoque en el lenguaje” for studying the language. For example, the teacher reads a paragraph with the students, points to the phrase tomo aliento, and explains it. The teacher probes for understanding by asking “¿Cuándo toma aliento Tío Conejo?”
In Unit 3, students explore the theme of cultural differences while reading the paired selections Esperanza renace and Una mochila cargada de historias. The following question, embedded in the student text, prompts students to make connections: “¿Qué tipo de experiencias dieron una nueva perspectiva a los personajes que acabas de leer?” Students further explore the Essential Question by making a foldable that compares and contrasts the main characters’ perspectives, demonstrated through textual evidence.
In Unit 4, students explore point of view while reading a play about how a lady resolves a rule she could not follow. In the anchor text lesson, the students read carefully to practice different skills, including point of view and author’s purpose. The students reread the selection to analyze text features and the author’s craft. The student workbook also includes questions and tasks that require analysis of text elements. For example, students consider differing points of view with the question “¿Cómo muestra la autora los dos puntos de vista frente al cumplimiento del reglamento?”
In Unit 5, the teacher guides discussion of word choice during a shared reading lesson of the historical fiction Los hijos del escriba. The teacher draws attention to words in other languages by circling the word katún and explaining that the Mayan language was spoken in Southwest Mexico in 1200. The students underline the meaning of the word in their text. The teacher demonstrates the skill of comparing and contrasting by asking students to analyze adjectives that describe two characters in the story. Students continue reading with the expectation to find text evidence that supports comparing and contrasting characters.
Each unit includes three genre studies, and each genre study has paired texts that require students to make cross-text comparisons through reading and writing experiences. The lesson cycles follow a three-part close reading routine: 1) “Leer”: Students read the paired selection and answer specific questions to grasp the basic, literal meaning of the text. 2) “Releer”: Students reread the selection to answer deeper questions about craft and structure. 3) “Integrar”: Students synthesize and evaluate information from the two texts by looking back at the anchor text and paired selection to respond to the Essential Question and text-to-text prompts.
The materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary in and across texts. The lessons provide ways to apply words in appropriate contexts as well as scaffolds and supports for differentiation of vocabulary instruction.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher resource folder has a “Plan general del curso” with an annual scope and sequence that addresses vocabulary. For each genre study, the materials provide a target and additional word list as well as a vocabulary strategy. Strategies include compound words, context clues, multiple-meaning words, affixes, and more.
In Unit 1, the third genre study is argumentative text, and the focus vocabulary strategies are context clues and Greek prefixes. The target words are acceso, cita, contraposición, datos, desventaja, promueve, razonamiento, and seguridad. The teacher introduces the words to the whole group with the “Visual Vocabulary Card” routine (“Define, Example, Ask”). The teacher projects the image, shares the definition, and reads the provided example (e.g., “Cuando se tiene acceso a una fuente, como internet, se puede buscar información.”) To check for understanding, the teacher asks, “¿Cómo tiene acceso la gente al dinero del banco?” During the introductory lesson, students learn about the prefixes des-, tele-, and multi- to support comprehension of the shared reading and anchor texts in the genre study.
In Unit 2, the teacher uses the Visual Vocabulary Card routine to introduce the vocabulary words to the class. The materials also include a help section titled “Apoyo, aprendices de Español.” This part is for beginner and intermediate learners of Spanish and prompts the teacher to draw students’ attention to commas and context clues that signal the definition of a word. The instructions say: “Have partners read the first paragraph on page 101. Explain that commas can signal a definition context clue. ¿Qué es parlamento? El parlamento es la rama legislativa del gobierno británico.”
In Unit 3, the materials provide guidance for context clue instruction and spiral review while reading the anchor text Machu Picchu: ciudad antigua. The teacher asks, “¿Qué significa viviendas en el párrafo 4? ¿Qué palabras permiten saberlo?” Students revisit the target vocabulary words by orally completing cloze sentences. Later in the week, students expand their understanding of the target vocabulary words by writing sentences with appropriate context to show the words’ meaning.
In Unit 4, the genre is poetry, and the focus strategy for vocabulary is simile and metaphor. The teacher provides differentiated instruction for “Approaching,” “On Level,” and “Beyond Level” readers. For Approaching students, the teacher follows the gradual release model to compare and contrast similes and metaphors while thinking aloud (“I do”). The teacher supports students to read and discuss similes and metaphors in the text (“We do”). In the third step, students analyze a verse in the poem and determine if it is a simile or metaphor (“You do”). On Level and Beyond Level students also discuss similes and metaphors in an accelerated manner, followed by an extension activity to write and share similes and metaphors about friends and relatives.
In Unit 5, students learn about the genre of historical fiction while reading Las ruina indias by José Martí. The vocabulary lesson plan provides an example of each word’s meaning within the story and in a different context. In the student workbook, students respond to questions using the words in relation to their own lives. The materials provide more opportunities to practice the words with an online component that includes text-to-speech, example sentences, and questions about the vocabulary words.
In Unit 6, the materials provide digital practice with synonyms through a matching activity. Students match the underlined word in a sentence with its synonym by drawing a line. The instructions appear on the sidebar of the screen and are also read to the student through voice-to-text. The teacher deepens understanding of the target vocabulary words by studying them in context and explicitly teaching them using the Visual Vocabulary Card routine (i.e., “Definición, Ejemplo, y Pregunta.”) The teacher supports learning by discussing cognates when applicable. For the word ágil, the online tool states, “Ágil en español y agile en inglés son cognados.” The student workbook provides opportunities for students to deepen their understanding of the target words in context. For example, the students answer the following question: “¿En qué campo consideras que eres ágil?”
Direct teaching of vocabulary is complemented by games, both digital and hands-on. The teacher resource folder includes the following games: “¡Ordénalas!, Ta-Te-Ti de antónimos, Fábrica de palabras, Igual y diferente, Arma la palabra, Bingo de sinónimos, ¿Qué quieres decir?” Each game includes materials, objective, preparation and simple directions for how to play.
The “Instructional Routines Handbook” has a section titled “What You Need to Know About Vocabulary.” It defines Tier I, II, and III words and provides examples. The handbook describes opportunities for students to learn and practice new vocabulary throughout the units (e.g., mini-lessons, Visual Vocabulary Cards, and spiral reviews). It includes the rationale for strategies and techniques. Though the Instructional Routines Handbook provides general information that applies to all units of instruction, it does not specifically address the acquisition of Spanish vocabulary in a dual language or bilingual classroom.
The materials include a clearly defined plan to support and hold students accountable as they engage in independent reading. The procedures and protocols, accompanied by adequate support for teachers, foster independent reading. The plan for students to self-select texts and read independently for a sustained period of time includes planning and accountability for achieving independent reading goals.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Instructional Routines Handbook,” found in the teacher resource folder, includes detailed information about independent reading in intermediate grade classrooms. The resource is not grade-specific, nor is it connected to specific lessons. The handbook provides guidance about independent reading time and supplies resources to support its implementation in language arts classrooms. However, the handbook does not provide supporting materials, such as the reading log, in Spanish. It is written for the English version of the program and would benefit from being adapted to include all materials in Spanish.
The handbook illustrates the importance of independent reading time for young readers by stating, “Daily independent reading provides your students with the opportunity to apply reading strategies and skills they are taught in class, and helps them make connections to what they are learning.” The handbook also notes the evidence from research that independent reading increases students’ comprehension, builds their vocabulary, and enhances background knowledge. The handbook recommends that students in the intermediate grades engage in independent reading for 30–40 minutes daily. The handbook draws attention to the program’s resources for engaging with independent reading (i.e., selections in the anthology, differentiated genre passages, classroom library trade books, bonus leveled readers, online leveled library, and Time for Kids online digital articles).
The handbook includes the section “Additional Strategies for Independent Reading.” This section provides ideas for implementing a systematic, independent reading routine that emphasizes the self-selection of books. Subheadings in this section include “How to Choose a Book,” “Journal About Books,” and “Share Time.” This section also contains information about reading logs and lists the information to be recorded in the logs, where to find a template, and how to use reading logs to set future reading goals.
The instructions for the “Independent Reading Routine” state, “Teach this routine to students so they can choose books and read independently while you work with groups or confer with individuals.” The students first select a book that interests them. To support good choices, the teacher educates the students about determining the book’s difficulty by using the “Five Finger Rule.” Secondly, the students read their book every day during independent reading time and use the skills and strategies they have been working on in class. Third, the students think about what they are reading. Fourth, the students use their reading log to record what they read at the end of each session. Fifth, the students share their opinions about the book they read. Finally, they restart the process all over again with a new book.
The handbook recommends that teachers circulate during self-selected reading time to ensure that students are on task and have chosen an appropriate book. If not, teachers remind students that it is okay to abandon a book that does not fit their interest or reading level and help them find a more appropriate one.
The materials provide options for students to share what they are reading with others. For example, the section “Help Students Respond to What They are Reading” in the Instructional Routines Handbook describes strategies such as “Journal About Books, Literature Circles, Thinking Codes, Share Time, Perfect Pitch, Design a Movie Poster, Sketch a Selection, Book Talks.” The handbook also describes and encourages peer conferences about independent reading to build motivation and hold students accountable.
Teachers foster student ownership of their reading by providing a reading log that notes the date, title, pages or time read, and any other information that the teacher wants to emphasize. In addition, the “Respuesta del lector” tracking sheet allows students to give books a star rating, write a recommendation, and respond to a question regarding the book.
The materials also provide opportunities for students to read independently during whole group and small group instruction. Close reading routines embedded in the shared reading and anchor text lessons include time for rereading and independent study, framed by modeling and questioning from the teacher. Small group differentiated lessons include independent reading opportunities as well. Students choose from the leveled reading library during genre studies to reinforce learning during whole group lessons. The teacher sets a purpose for reading in small groups and guides students to discuss the book and its connections to the anchor text featured that week.
The materials provide support for students to develop composition skills across multiple text types for a variety of purposes and audiences. Students have opportunities to write literary, informational, and argumentative texts as well as professional and friendly correspondence.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Instructional Routines Handbook” includes a systematic writing process routine found throughout the units. The units of study begin with analyzing the expert models (i.e., the anchor texts) and discussing the features of the genre. During the planning stage, students brainstorm and choose a topic, discuss purpose and audience, and gather relevant information. The next stage is drafting. The teacher and students discuss developing the topic, organizing the writing, and writing a draft. Students use checklists and apply partner and teacher feedback during the conferencing and revising stage. Finally, students edit and proofread revised drafts using editing checklists before publishing, presenting, and self-evaluating their writing with a rubric.
In Unit 1, students begin the writing process for a personal narrative. On the first day, students engage in a freewriting activity about significant events in their lives. The teacher instructs students to choose one experience or event alluded to in their freewriting as a personal narrative topic. The teacher reminds students: “Las narrativas personales se basan en los recuerdos de los escritores” and answer questions such as “¿Qué ocurrió?” and “¿Quién estuvo involucrado?” Students follow the guidelines in their student workbook to review the assignment’s expectations. Students spend several days drafting their stories and complete the composition process by engaging in peer conferencing, editing, proofreading, and publishing their pieces.
Unit 1 includes specific supports to guide the teacher and students through the stages of the writing process. For example, the lesson plan guides the teacher to review their drafts and provides step-by-step instructions for peer conferencing. The lesson plan also tells the teacher how to listen to and monitor partner feedback to revise student work effectively. In addition, the student workbook guides students through the brainstorming process and prompts them to identify their purpose and audience by completing the following sentence stems: “Mi propósito es…. Mi público será…. Utilizaré lenguaje...al escribir mi narrativa personal.”
In Unit 2, one of the genre studies is narrative poetry. In the “Reading/Writing Companion” lesson, the teacher guides students to analyze the expert models, “Geología” and “Ilusión.” The teacher discusses differences between narrative poems and fictional stories, explaining that, like stories, narrative poems often have characters, settings, and a plot. Students review poetic devices not typically found in stories (i.e., rhyme, repetition, and visual arrangement). The teacher and students create an anchor chart that lists the features of the genre before writing their first drafts of narrative poems that express their feelings about something that makes them proud.
In Unit 3, students write a persuasive article, using a “Four Door Foldable” graphic organizer, based on the anchor text Machu Picchu: ciudad antigua. The teacher explains, “Writers of persuasive articles use logical order to present information in a way that makes sense to the reader.” Students analyze the anchor text to determine how the author puts information in a logical order for persuasion. The lesson plan provides specific points to note: “First, the writer tells what researchers found—a pattern of knots. Then the writer explains what researchers think about this discovery—it might be a code.” Following the analysis and note-taking with the graphic organizer, the students plan and draft a persuasive article about an unanswered question regarding an ancient site. Students address two points of view: evidence to support and evidence to refute.
In Unit 4, the students write a biography of a historical figure who helped improve civil rights. As part of the planning stage, the students define their essay’s purpose and audience. The teacher reminds the students that a biography’s main purpose is to inform, although it can also be entertaining. The teacher explains the need to formulate questions and compile information about their subject before beginning to write. The teacher asks, “¿Qué información deben saber y deberán leer sus lectores acerca de la vida de esa persona y sus contribuciones a la lucha por los derechos civiles?” The students use the main-idea-and-supporting-details graphic organizer to prepare to write.
In Unit 5, students read two anchor texts, ¿Deben vivir aquí plantas y animales de otros lugares? and El caso de las abejas, to learn about the features of argumentative text before writing an opinion essay. The teacher explains that an opinion essay is a form of argumentative text that tries to persuade readers to agree with the author’s opinion. The teacher and students create an anchor chart that lists the features of opinion essays (e.g., clearly stated opinion, reasons, facts, details, and evidence). Students address the unit’s “Essential Question,” “How do natural events and human activities affect the environment?” and begin research on a topic of interest for their opinion essays.
In Unit 6, students practice correspondence skills by writing an email to a state representative. The lesson plan states, “Have pairs research an important issue, gather important information, think about what they want to request, and then plan the message.” The teacher models how to write the subject line and the message area of an email. Students compose their email and share it with the class.
The materials provide written tasks that require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate the knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts. Students have opportunities to use evidence from texts to support their opinions and claims and demonstrate in writing what they have learned through reading and listening to texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Instructional Routines Handbook” includes an analytical writing routine found throughout the units. The materials state, “This routine aligns with lessons provided in the Teacher’s Edition, but you can also use it when students respond analytically to any text.” Step 1 of the routine is to analyze the prompt. The materials suggest that students work with partners to analyze the prompt by identifying key language and what it is asking them to do. The teacher supports students by defining difficult academic terms in the prompt. Step 2 is to state a clear topic or opinion. The teacher models how to use sentence stems to respond concisely to the prompt and encourages their use during group and partner discussion. Step 3 is to cite text evidence. Students revisit the text to find evidence to support their ideas. The teacher encourages students to evaluate the strength of the evidence, make inferences, synthesize information, organize their notes by grouping related ideas together, and link reasons for opinions or arguments together. Step 4 is to provide a strong conclusion. The teacher reminds students that well-developed analytical writing ends with a conclusion that restates the topic or opinion and models how to write a strong conclusion.
In Unit 1, students write about the anchor text, El futuro de transporte, by responding to the prompt “Piensa en cómo plantean los autores su posición respecto a la tecnología del transporte. ¿Cómo sustenta cada uno de sus argumentos?” The teacher guides the analysis of the prompt and asks scaffolding questions to support understanding. Students refer back to specific pages of the anthology and answer questions such as “¿En qué nuevos avances trabajan los ingenieros?” and “¿Cómo utiliza el autor este hecho para sustentar su punto de vista?” The students note text evidence using a graphic organizer in the student workbook. After discussing their evidence with a partner or in a small group, students respond in writing to the prompt. Additional supports such as sentence stems in the student workbook assist students with crafting a concise response.
In Unit 2, the teacher models how to find text evidence during a think-aloud about the shared reading La creación de una nación. After reading the question “How did the colonists react to taxes imposed by the British?” the teacher stops and says, “I will look for evidence about this question.” The teacher then refers to a specific part of the text and demonstrates how information in the text supports understanding of the question. The teacher guides the students to stop and reread sections of the text to find text evidence in response to subsequent questions.
In Unit 3, after a shared reading of La abuela de Max, the teacher models how to use evidence to answer questions about the text, such as “¿Cómo se siente Max de que la abuela vaya a vivir con ellos?” During the second reading of the text, students read independently and answer questions such as “Según la manera de hablar Max, ¿Cómo crees que se siente ella?” The directions in the sidebar section called “Buscar evidencias” tell students to circle evidence in the digital text to support their answers. Questions address various objectives (e.g., theme, character development, and summarization).
In Unit 4, students reread and cite text evidence to support their answers about the anchor text, El rey de las octavas. The student workbook has open-ended questions and prompts students to reread specific sections of the text before discussing answers with a partner. For example, one of the open-ended questions asks about a character’s perception of his own life: “¿Cuál es la percepción de Claudio de su vida en París?” The materials then instruct the students to discuss the text: “Vuelve a la página...de la Antología de literatura. Comenta con un compañero cómo se siente Claudio por su viaje a París.” The workbook also includes a chart with the heading “Evidencias del texto” on the left and “Lo que muestran” on the right.
In Unit 5, the teacher models the skill of summarizing and response writing during a shared reading lesson on Los hijos del escriba. The students have the opportunity for continued practice during an independent reading of the anchor text, Las ruinas indias. The teacher refers students to the main-idea-and-supporting-details graphic organizer and instructs students to summarize orally with a partner. Then, students work in their student workbook to complete “Escribir” and “Hacer conexiones” prompts. Students annotate the digital text as they seek evidence to answer open-ended questions such as “¿Por qué es importante el punto de vista del texto para entender lo que el autor quiere transmitir?” and “¿Qué cambios experimentaron los habitantes del México antiguo?”
The materials apply composition and convention skills in increasingly complex contexts and offer opportunities for students to publish their writing. Students utilize the elements of the writing process for composing texts and have opportunities to practice and apply the conventions of academic language when speaking and writing. The materials include systematic instruction on grammar, punctuation, and usage, both in and out of context, and provide editing practice throughout the year.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Instructional Routines Handbook,” found in the teacher resource section, includes a writing process routine for teachers and students to follow as they progress through the genre studies in each unit. The routine specifies the following steps: 1. Study, analyze, and discuss the features of the expert model in the genre study. 2. Plan the writing by brainstorming about the topic, discussing the purpose and audience, and gathering relevant information. 3. Write the draft after developing the topic and organizing the writing. 4. Revise the writing using checklists and partner feedback from conferences. 5. Edit and proofread revised drafts using editing checklists. 6. Publish, present, and evaluate with a rubric to self-evaluate. Each genre has a four-point rubric with specific categories. For example, the categories for informational text are “enfoque, organización, apoyo, y normas.” The materials promote different modes of publication and presentation (e.g., print, digital, audio, and video).
In Unit 1, students compose an opinion piece on electronic devices and access the digital “Writers’ Notebook” to support the writing process. The digital notebook has several tabs to guide students as they write their essays. The tabs are planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. In each tab, the notebook includes links to editable documents such as checklists and graphic organizers. This online resource also provides multiple videos that students can access to support the stages of writing. For example, in the planning tab, students can watch a video about paraphrasing an idea. In the publishing tab, students can view ways to present their writing when complete. This resource also has a genre-specific rubric displayed in the margin as the student digitally drafts the piece.
In Unit 2, students begin planning the composition of an expository essay about one of the people who helped create the Constitution. The materials provide a main-idea-and-detail graphic organizer to assist students in collecting facts. Students learn about choosing and evaluating their sources of information with guidelines from the teacher, such as “Check three sources for each fact in case two sources disagree.” The teacher provides lessons on expository structure and logical order and refers students to tips in the student workbook as they draft. Students follow a peer conferencing routine and use an editing checklist to improve their piece. The expectation is for the final piece to include illustrations, photos, and maps; students can publish their work in print or digitally.
In Unit 3, the materials include a variety of supports to guide students through realistic fiction writing. After a close reading of the anchor texts, La abuela de Max and Esperanza renace, students work in small groups to brainstorm a list of real or realistic places and characters. Students choose one setting and at least one character from their brainstorming session and begin their plan in the Writers’ Notebook. The teacher guides students to focus on a clear sequence of events with a graphic organizer. Mini-lessons address character, setting, and plot development. During the revision process, the teacher reviews mood and word choice, sharing adjectives such as alegre, sarcástico, triste, and enojado. During the editing and revising stage, the teacher continues to emphasize sequence and word choice, reminding students to add details and specific words to enhance their narrative.
In Unit 4, students study nouns and pronouns. The teacher displays several nouns and pronouns on the board, including some plural nouns. Students work in groups to choose a noun, write the antecedent, and use both the noun and pronoun in a sentence. The grammar practice book has additional exercises that include in- and out-of-context practice. Students complete worksheets identifying pronouns and their antecedents and then analyze their own writing to correct agreement between antecedents and pronouns.
In Unit 5, the teacher introduces infinitive, participle, and gerund verb forms. The teacher explains, “Verbs have three forms that are non-personal: the infinitive, the participle, and the gerund.” After this, the students search for infinitive verbs in an exercise in the student workbook, circling them and writing them in the margin. The practice book also includes a writing activity in which students explain why traveling and learning about new cultures is important, using infinitive verbs. Later in the lesson, in the “Talk About It” section, the teacher provides infinitive, participle, and gerund flashcards to small groups and challenges them to form as many sentences as possible with the card they pick. The next day, the students review the skill by completing another workbook page and searching for non-personal verb forms in the text.
In Unit 6, the genre study is historical fiction, and the teacher emphasizes the use of transitions. Students practice the skill out of content with exercises in the student workbook and then apply the skill in context. As students draft, the teacher provides students with a list of transition words and phrases that indicate sequence: mientras, antes, finalmente, en primer lugar, posteriormente, and cuando. Students refer to this list while peer conferencing, editing, and revising.
To further support grammar instruction, the teacher resources section includes a “Grammar Manual.” The topics include sentences, phrases, nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, articles, adverbs, prepositions, accents, and language norms. Each section of the manual has the definition of the grammar rule, an example, and practice questions for small or whole group settings.
The materials provide practice for students to write in cursive, including an instructional plan for procedures and supports for teachers to assess students’ handwriting development.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Teacher’s Edition” includes explicit instruction in cursive handwriting for grades 3–6 by unit. The cursive lessons have objectives (e.g., “Alignment and Margins: To write a sentence; to keep within the margins of the paper, and; to have letters sitting on the bottom line.”) The lessons have a clear sequence for the teacher to follow: 1) Getting Started, 2) Using the Page, 3) Extension, and 4) Evaluate. The first three units focus on lowercase letters; the last three emphasize uppercase letters.
The student workbook, “Caligrafía, Grados 3–6,” provides multiple pages of practice for students learning to write in cursive. The practice workbook is arranged by unit with letters grouped by movement. The student workbook has tips for posture, pencil pressure, and position of the paper to support students’ handwriting development.
In Unit 1, students self-assess their cursive handwriting by circling their best attempts at cursive formation and completing a series of sentences that assess vocabulary related to handwriting. The student practice pages provide explicit tips on letter formation but also include opportunities for students to show their developing skills. For example, after practicing the letters m, n, v, x, y, and z, students come up with their own words that curve over themselves. As the units advance, the tasks become more complex, moving from letter formation to word practice to copying sentences and eventually to answering open-ended questions in cursive. Each unit ends with a quiz that allows students to demonstrate growth.
Unit 2 addresses letters that involve “trazos hacia arriba” (strokes that curve up). The lesson on e and i begins with the teacher modeling how to write the letter e on the guidelines while saying: “Comiencen en el renglón inferior. Hagan un bucle hacia la izquierda en dirección al renglón inferior. Hagan un trazo curvo hacia arriba en dirección al renglón central.” The students practice by tracing the letter e with their fingers, then writing a line of the target letter. The teacher repeats the process with the letter i. The teacher reminds students that they have learned four letters that use the same stroke (e, i, l, and t). The student workbook lists words with these letters (e.g., el, ele, elle, tele, tile), and students practice these words. The extension activity is multisensory; students practice forming the letters e, i, l, and t on construction paper with glue and yarn or glitter.
Unit 3 addresses “trazos que conectan” (connectives). Students practice appropriate size and form as well as the distance between words. In the lesson on b and f, the teacher models the formation of the b while saying, “Comiencen en la línea inferior y hagan un trazo curvo hacia arriba.” The teacher draws attention to f as a dropped letter by modeling and saying, “Hagan un bucle hacia la izquierda y hacia abajo hasta llegar a la línea superior de la línea guía que hay debajo.” The teacher demonstrates how to connect b and f to other letters, and students practice writing words such as boa, faro, bebe, oficio, falda, and fina. For the extension, the teacher challenges students to think of and write three- and four-letter words that begin with b and f that only include previously learned letters (e.g., bala, fama, buena, faena).
In Unit 4, students begin to study the formation of capital letters. Each lesson emphasizes a pair of letters (e.g., A and O). The teacher demonstrates the target letters’ size and shape and continues to give reminders about posture and grip. Students write complete sentences in the workbook, such as “Alicia vive en Alaska” and “Olga viaja a Oregon.” The extension challenges students to write tongue twisters with a and o.
Unit 5 completes the study of capital letters with an emphasis on spacing letters and words. The final two lessons of the unit focus on the importance of learning to respond to prompts on tests in cursive. Students read the prompt and sample response in cursive, then copy it in the first lesson. In the next lesson, students read a similar prompt and craft their own responses in cursive. The teacher reminds students that the composition must be easy to read to receive a good grade.
Unit 6 emphasizes alignment, margins, and fluent reading and writing in cursive. Students read and copy a short story, a news article, a report, a letter, and more. Students practice additional skills, such as the use of punctuation. Students read sample sentences in cursive that end with different punctuation marks, emphasizing expression. The teacher selects a student to read aloud a short story. The “Evaluate” section of the lesson plan includes questions to prompt student self-evaluation (e.g., “¿Puntuaron de manera correcta?” and “¿Se inclinan sus letras de manera uniforme?”) The extension activity invites students to continue the story and write possible endings. In the final lessons of Unit 6, students transition from writing with the midline to writing without it. Seven lessons emphasize this skill.
The materials support students’ listening and speaking about texts. Students demonstrate comprehension through oral tasks that require the use of clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims as they analyze and synthesize texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Instructional Routines Handbook” includes “Collaborative Conversations,” a sequenced protocol for interacting with partners and small groups. The teacher displays prompts and response frames in the classroom for student reference and provides reminders for turn-taking procedures and accountable talk during discussions. The materials include two visual checklists for students: “Sentence Starters” and “How to Have a Collaborative Conversation.” In addition, the Instructional Routines Handbook refers teachers to videos on Collaborative Conversations that feature simulations by students and a teacher on various genres. However, the handbook and videos are provided only in English, and Collaborative Conversations is the sole protocol for small group discussions explicitly suggested throughout the program.
In Unit 1, students practice speaking and listening during a lesson called “Wrap Up the Unit.” The teacher writes the “Essential Question” on the board, “Where can an idea begin?” and focuses the lesson on text-to-text connections. The teacher models how to compare pertinent information in texts by using examples from leveled readers. After reminding students about the Collaborative Conversation guidelines, the teacher divides the class into small groups. Students review their class notes and complete graphic organizers before beginning the discussion. When students finish their discussions, a volunteer from each group reads their notes aloud. The teacher facilitates the conversation by asking, “What are the five most important things we have learned about where an idea can begin?” At the end of the discussion, groups reflect on their collaboration and acknowledge one another’s contributions.
In Unit 2, the shared reading lesson on La creación de una nación focuses on monitoring comprehension and finding text evidence. Through a think-aloud, the teacher models how to address a question by reflecting and returning to a specific page to reread for clarification. The teacher considers another question and then instructs students to reread the third paragraph to determine how colonists responded to the British troops. The shared reading lesson continues with whole group and partner discussions as the teacher and students complete a graphic organizer. The lesson concludes with the direction to “have students summarize the section orally” before writing a summary in their “Writers’ Notebooks.”
In Unit 3, the teacher introduces the Essential Question “¿Cómo se explica lo que ocurrió en el pasado?” After reviewing the lesson objectives and explaining how archaeologists have discovered artifacts that help us learn about the past, the teacher asks, “What is something in the past you would like to have explained? How could you find and reconstruct remnants from the past?” The teacher models using a graphic organizer to generate words and phrases related to the topic. Students discuss the question in pairs or groups and collaborate to add ideas to the concept web. To keep the students on task, the teacher gives students guidelines, such as “Wait for a person to finish before they speak.”
In Unit 4, students learn about Henry David Thoreau’s life by discussing the biography Una vida en el bosque. The Essential Question is “¿Cómo puede una vivencia cambiar tu manera de pensar sobre la naturaleza?” The teacher guides students to turn and talk about questions such as “What was the effect of Thoreau walking out of town?” and “What question about Thoreau’s life can you create and answer?” The teacher models visualization of settings in the book and asks students to express their visualizations to partners.
In Unit 5, students read an argumentative magazine article titled “¿Deben vivir aquí plantas y animales de otros lugares?” In the “Talk About It” section of the lesson plan, the teacher frames the conversation with an image of a beekeeper. The teacher asks the Essential Question “¿Cómo afectan los acontecimientos naturales y las actividades humanas al medio ambiente?” and guides whole group discussion while making notes on an idea web. The teacher asks follow-up questions: “What is an activity you have done that affected the environment?” “How did your actions help something thrive?” Students discuss in pairs and groups, adding ideas to the graphic organizer.
In Unit 6, students engage in discussion to answer the Essential Question “¿Qué nos puede enseñar nuestra conexión con el mundo?” The teacher provides clear guidelines for the conversations. One of the guidelines states, “Always look at the person who is speaking.” The materials include a bubble map graphic organizer that students fill out collaboratively. Students discuss something they have learned from maintaining a connection to a person or place and how this helps to expand their world. The shared reading lesson ends with a preview of the end-of-unit project: a debate in which students discuss their opinions about the homework assignment regarding how to get along with others.
The materials engage students in productive teamwork and student-led discussions in both formal and informal settings. Students use grade-level protocols for discussion to express their thinking and practice social communication skills. The materials have opportunities for organized presentations and performances that include nonverbal techniques for communicating with an audience.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Instructional Routines Handbook” has a section on “Collaborative Conversations,” a protocol used throughout the units that details specific steps for student-led discussions. The steps are: “1) Introduce the focus of the conversation; 2) Review relevant guidelines to support student participation; 3) Provide specific information, so students know exactly what to do; 4) Monitor student conversations and provide corrective feedback as necessary; 5) Close the conversation(s).” The handbook also provides visuals of sentence starters and procedural checklists for students, as well as guidelines for self-evaluation and peer feedback. The materials include an instructional video about Collaborative Conversations featuring teacher and student actions in a classroom setting. However, the handbook checklists and video are in English, and Collaborative Conversations is the sole protocol for small group discussions explicitly suggested throughout the program.
The Instructional Routines Handbook provides guidelines for planning, presenting, and listening to presentations. Presenting is a regular practice in each unit; each two-week genre study concludes with drafting, publishing, and presenting a piece of writing. The materials include an instructional video in Spanish called “Diseñar una presentación” that gives specific tips for creating an audiovisual presentation. The online “Writers’ Notebook” has links to videos that guide students as they prepare to present. The video “Grabar y editar un audio” explains how digital devices can be used to record audio clips in Spanish. The video titled “How to Give Presentations” provides a helpful simulation of students providing feedback to one another as they prepare. However, the students in the video are speaking in English, and though subtitles are provided, it is difficult to follow due to the pace of the conversation.
In Unit 1, the teacher introduces students to Collaborative Conversations. The teacher guides students to understand that there are agreed-upon rules, norms, and protocols to use during discussions. Students learn the following guidelines: “a) Escuchar activamente: mirar siempre a la persona que habla; b) hacer preguntas relevantes sobre el tema para aclarar información; c) hacer comentarios pertinentes sobre el tema.” After learning about the routine and the norms, students collaboratively discuss the anchor text, Campamento con el presidente, and the teacher monitors and facilitates.
In Unit 2, the whole group lesson begins with “Talk About It,” giving students practice speaking with each other about the “Essential Question,” “¿Qué nos lleva a realizar un sueño?” The teacher shows a brief video to focus students on motivation and goals and then displays a photograph of two young ballet dancers. Students closely observe the photo. The teacher guides a brief discussion about the subjects of the photo, then poses two questions: “What is an ambitious goal that you have had?” and “What motivated you to accomplish it?” Students work in small groups to hold a Collaborative Conversation on the topic.
In Unit 3, students present their final composition in front of the class. The student workbook includes a rubric that students use to evaluate their presentation. The teacher reviews the bulleted points on the rubric under Level 4, which represents meeting all expectations, and asks questions such as “Do the characters in your story act and speak like real people?” and “Does the story include a lot of descriptive details?” To support students as they prepare to speak in front of the class, the digital Writers’ Notebook contains a sidebar with tips to ensure good performance. The tips include: “Habla lentamente y con claridad.” “Habla a un volumen lo suficientemente alto como para que todos te escuchen.” “Lee expresivamente el relato para que el público comprenda cómo se sienten los personajes y los sucesos del relato.”
In Unit 5, students choose printed or digital formats for their presentation on scientific advancements of the 21st century. The presentation includes visuals and multimedia to support their ideas and engage the audience. The teacher reminds students of the importance of speaking clearly and concisely. For example, the teacher guide states, “Stress the importance of having students take the time to rehearse their presentation, practicing how to speak clearly and slowly.” Students consult their presentation checklist before finalizing their presentation.
To support social communication skills, the materials provide the article “Building Social and Emotional Learning Into the School Day: Seven Guiding Principles.” The sixth guiding principle focuses on how to communicate. This article by Dr. Annie Snyder offers strategies to effectively communicate with families, school staff/colleagues, and community partners. For example, the resource suggests: “Learn about your students’ families, ideally through face-to-face interactions. This will help ensure your SEL instruction is culturally responsive and builds on the strengths and habits of families.” In addition, the supplementary materials include the teacher resource “Oraciones para completar oralmente,” with sentence starters and frames to support students’ use of social and academic language when speaking with others. For example, in the section “Hacer comentarios positivos,” the resource includes frames such as “Me gusta la idea de...acerca de….” “Estoy de acuerdo con...acerca de….”
The materials engage students in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes to confront and analyze various aspects of a topic using relevant sources. The materials include identification and use of high-quality primary and secondary sources. Students organize and present their ideas and information in accordance with the purpose of the research and the appropriate grade-level audience. The materials guide students to use an appropriate delivery mode, whether written, oral, or multimodal, to present results.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher resources folder includes a specific routine for research and inquiry in the “Instructional Routines Handbook” for grades 3–6. The routine is followed throughout the units and specifies five steps for the research process. Step 1: The teacher introduces the project, identifies the research focus, and states the final product. Step 2: The teacher provides examples of quality sources (e.g., texts read in class, digital media, print sources, and interviews with experts). Step 3: The teacher and students identify reliable sources and relevant information; the students take notes relevant to their inquiry question and cite sources. Step 4: Students organize their information by annotating, highlighting, and using a graphic organizer to sort and clarify categories of related information; students identify any need for further information. Step 5: Students synthesize their learning, create the final research product, and present their findings.
The materials include a “Kit de recursos: Evaluar las fuentes” for the identification and summary of high-quality primary and secondary sources. The slide presentation guides students through the process of evaluating the reliability of a resource and provides questions to ask, such as “¿Quien es el autor?” and “¿Es el autor un experto en el tema?” The “Kit de recursos: Investigar” provides two video articles in Spanish. The first video focuses on the credibility of sources; the second discusses the relevance of sources and provides explicit examples of primary and secondary sources.
In Unit 1, students research a national park and prepare a map of the park to present. The teacher guides students to address questions such as “¿Tu presentación incluye características especiales de los parques?” and “¿Es relevante la información?” The “Teacher’s Edition” states that maps must include multiple elements: “la rosa de vientos, el título, la leyenda, y los símbolos.” Prior to the presentation, students review the presentation steps: 1) Consider an audience and purpose for the presentation; 2) Select audio, visual, or multimedia aids; 3) Plan how to present key information; 4) Practice the presentation.
In Unit 2, the study skills lesson focuses on the advantages and disadvantages of primary and secondary sources for research and inquiry tasks. For example, the teacher states that an advantage of primary sources is “pueden darnos una imagen cercana del pasado,” but a disadvantage is “se pueden basar en una opinión de la persona que las creó.” The teacher models how to identify primary and secondary sources with print and online resources. Students begin working in research groups to gather information for a poster that details the steps that led to the creation of the U.S. Constitution.
In Unit 3, the teacher explains how important it is for students to narrow their research topic before gathering information. The teacher suggests questions such as the following to narrow the focus: “¿Cuánta información debería incluir en mi investigación? ¿Cuáles son los puntos más interesantes que quiero presentar? ¿Qué puntos pueden quedar por fuera?” The teacher introduces the project, a pamphlet on customs and traditions, and guides students to narrow the topic to focus on a particular cultural group. Students use the “Four-Door Foldable” to collect relevant information for the pamphlet.
In Unit 4, the students conduct research by writing a formal letter to solicit information from one of the institutions explored in the anchor text Tren Clandestino. The “Escritura e investigación” workbook provides suggested questions, such as “¿Tienen alguna exhibición especial?” and “¿Tienen información que puedan enviarles, como un panfleto, un cuadernillo o un libro corto de historia?” Students come up with additional questions that they would like to ask to deepen their understanding of the Underground Railroad. The guide includes supplemental information for teachers in the section “Additional Strategies to Teach Research and Inquiry.” These instructions explain the research steps may not be linear, as in a standard classroom assignment, and encourage the teacher to create a shared research board where students can place information as it is gathered.
In Unit 5, the students present a collage about the Great Depression. The student workbook includes guidelines to support students’ presentations. For example, the sidebar called “Acúerdate” reminds students, “Planifica cómo presentarás y describirás tu collage.” The presentation checklist has action items such as “Planea con tu compañero o grupo la forma en que se dividirán la presentación.” “Haz contacto visual.” Prior to the presentation, the teacher models ways to highlight the most important information in their presentation and reminds students to be active listeners while others present. The teacher reviews and models the behaviors of an effective listener and shows the students the “Listening Checklist” from the online “Writers’ Notebook.”
The materials contain interconnected tasks that build student knowledge and provide opportunities for increased independence. Questions and tasks help students build and apply knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. High-quality, text-dependent questions and tasks require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within individual texts as well as across multiple texts. Tasks integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking and include components of vocabulary, syntax, and fluency.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, the teacher shares the objectives and introduces the “Essential Question,” “¿Cómo puede una vivencia cambiar tu manera de pensar sobre la naturaleza?” The teacher generates words and phrases related to an encounter with nature and models using a graphic organizer. The students work with a partner to talk about the topic and complete the graphic organizer. As the students engage in collaborative conversations, the teacher helps them understand the importance of following agreed-upon rules, norms, and protocols, such as “Mirar siempre a la persona que está hablando.” The teacher shares the “Proteger nuestros parques” “Blast” assignment. The students post a social media-like message of 140 characters or less, answering the question “¿Por qué tenemos leyes de protección de nuestros parques nacionales?” The Blast includes a “StudySync Blast Info” short read to build background on the topic and a “StudySync QuikPoll” in which students give their opinion about which park they would like to visit first.
In Unit 2, students read folktales, such as La tortuga y el conejo and La piedra del zamuro, and a paired expository text, Del texto a la mesa. The “Teacher’s Edition” includes questions such as “¿Cuál era la actitud de Conejo el día de la carrera?” and “Con base en las instrucciones, ¿qué quiso decir el autor con ‘superficie enharinada’?” The teacher also reviews personification and models how to find examples in the text. The students discuss text-dependent questions with partners, circling and annotating evidence in the text as the teacher assists and supports.
In Unit 3, the realistic fiction anchor text is La abuela de Max by Maria Mahía. The lesson has a component called “Fluency.” The teacher reminds students that “cuando leen con buena precisión y ritmo de fluidez, el relato es más vivaz, lo que les ayuda a entender mejor y a disfrutar la lectura.” The teacher demonstrates fluent reading of the first page of the story, changing the tone of voice for each dialogue and character. The students practice reading aloud on their own as the teacher circulates and monitors for intonation. Partners take turns reading aloud and modeling fluency by focusing on rate, accuracy, and expression.
In Unit 4, the students engage in a shared read of the text La biblioteca de mi abuelo. During the lesson, the teacher asks questions that target various skills and strategies, such as visualization, point of view, vocabulary, and fluency. For example, the students complete the following vocabulary task in the student workbook: “‘Al mal tiempo, buena cara’ es un refrán. Deduce su significado a partir del contexto.” The student workbook has a sidebar titled “Enlace gramatical” that integrates syntax and writing. This grammar link reminds students to ensure their written response has verb and pronoun agreement.
In Unit 5, students read expository text that addresses the Essential Question “¿Cómo pueden los conocimientos científicos cambiar con el tiempo?” To support comprehension, the teacher uses the “Words in Context” routine to teach students key vocabulary. The teacher displays the visual vocabulary card to introduce the term, defines it, provides an example, and asks a question for clarification. For example, students learn criterio, evaluar, and orbita. The lesson concludes with a mini-lesson on Greek roots. The teacher displays the word heliocéntrico, circles the root, and asks, “¿A qué se parece la raíz griega céntrico?” The students work with partners to discuss the root and meaning of termómetro.
In Unit 6, the teacher explains that lyric poems express personal thoughts and feelings and have “musicalidad, imaginería, rima, y ritmo.” The students read poems by Rodolfo Dada titled “Pintar un mundo” and “Sorpresa.” Embedded questions prompt students to search for evidence and annotate the tone, point of view, and author’s craft within the text. Questions in the workbook guide students to demonstrate understanding of vocabulary from the poem (e.g., conexión, describir, formidable). For example, students respond to prompts such as “Guillermo siente una fuerte conexión con los jugadores de su equipo de fútbol. ¿Como establecerías una conexión con un nuevo amigo?” Students also answer questions about poetic devices such as asonancia, consonancia, imagen, and lenguaje figurado. The student workbook section “Terminos de poesia” asks students to demonstrate understanding with prompts such as “Menciona tres palabras que tengan asonancia con la palabra luna” and “¿Qué imagen podrías utilizar para describir un día de lluvia?”
The materials provide distributed practice over the course of the year. The design includes scaffolds for students to demonstrate the integration of literacy skills that spiral over the school year.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, the teacher introduces strategies for monitoring comprehension and making adjustments, such as rereading, using background knowledge, asking questions, and annotating, when understanding breaks down. Each day during the first week, the teacher explains a strategy, creates an anchor chart, models, and provides guided practice using the shared reading anchor text, Una vida en el bosque. While reading the next anchor text, Campamento con el presidente, the teacher models how to monitor for understanding by conducting a think-aloud. The teacher says, “Sé que cuando leo textos de no ficción, es una buena idea detenerme de vez en cuando para hacer y responder preguntas. De esta manera puedo estar seguro de que estoy entendiendo lo que leo. Una pregunta que puedo hacer es….” The strategy is also practiced during small group differentiated instruction. For example, during Week 4 of Unit 1, “On Level” students read self-selected texts, and the teacher reminds them to reread difficult sections, annotate important details, and make notes on a graphic organizer.
The Unit 2 overview includes a “Key Skills Trace” section that states when the skill is introduced, reviewed, and assessed. For example, the teacher introduces theme during the first genre study of Unit 2 and formatively assesses understanding at the end of the unit. The teacher and students review theme during Units 3, 4, and 6 with an assessment at the end of each unit. The units also include a standards overview with hyperlinks to lessons that address the standards that week.
In Unit 3, the teacher provides vocabulary instruction in the lesson component called “Palabras en contexto.” The teacher follows a specific routine to introduce essential vocabulary for each genre study. Students learn words such as percepción, torcido, and escasear to facilitate comprehension of the anchor text La abuela de Max. The teacher displays the “Visual Vocabulary Card,” introduces the term, defines it, provides an example, and asks a question for clarification. The “Claves en contexto” lesson component supplements the “Words in Context” routine. The teacher reminds students that they can figure out the meaning of unknown words by using clues in the sentence or paragraph. The “Teacher’s Edition” directs the teacher to model how to figure out the meaning of tragedia before providing guided practice with the words roncar and premura. The guide prompts the teacher to help students “volver al texto y utilizar las relaciones de causa y efecto entre las palabras para encontrar sus significados.”
In Unit 4, students revisit strategies for monitoring comprehension while reading the anchor text Frederick Douglass: voz de la libertad. When the strategy was first introduced in Unit 1, the teacher explicitly taught the strategy, and the students used it for comprehension purposes. In Unit 4, the students apply the strategy to summarize and make connections with prior knowledge. The materials include scaffolds to help students meet the standard. For example, during the shared reading lesson, the teacher asks students to think about the “Essential Question” and annotate details that may help them answer the question. The teacher models how to make adjustments and reviews previous knowledge to summarize Douglass’s life in Massachusetts. The teacher asks, “¿Cómo podría controlar su comprensión resumiendo la vida de Douglass en Massachusetts?” and says, thinking aloud, “Lo leí en Massachusetts….” The student workbook incorporates other supports to help the students complete the task. Students reread, review prior knowledge, and ask questions as they read. The sidebar in the workbook reminds students to list all the important details, revise the list, and only include the most important details in their summary.
In Unit 5, the teacher provides scaffolded and distributed practice with unit objectives during differentiated small group instruction (“Approaching Level,” “On Level,” “Beyond Level”). While reading leveled books, the teacher guides instruction about the primary objective and point of view while providing other group discussion questions. For example, Approaching Level students read Las Grandes Llanuras, and the teacher asks, “¿Qué pueden preguntar sobre el plan de controlar insectos y otras plagas? ¿Dónde se encuentra la respuesta a su pregunta?” and “¿Qué creen que significa el modismo ‘justo lo que hacía falta?” Students take notes during the small group lesson in the “Reading/Writing Companion” regarding the Essential Question (“¿Cómo afectan los acontecimientos naturales y las actividades humanas al medio ambiente?”) in preparation for the unit research project.
In Unit 6, students apply various skills and strategies while reading the complementary text Aliados en acción. The section titled “Understanding Complex Texts” provides questions that address cause and effect, context clues, and text comparison. For example, students respond to prompts such as “¿Por qué Estados Unidos necesito la ayuda de diferentes grupos de personas durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial?“ and “¿En qué se parece el mensaje de este afiche con los mensajes de El código indescifrable y Aliados en acción?” In addition, students practice paraphrasing orally with a partner in preparation for writing a summary. The teacher reminds students, “Resúmenes deben conservar el sentido y orden lógico del relato.” The materials provide instructional support and clear expectations for summarization throughout all units.
The materials provide systematic instruction and practice of foundational skills, including opportunities for phonics and word analysis skills. Teachers follow a research-based sequence of grade-level foundational skills instruction, and students have ample opportunities to practice to achieve grade-level mastery. The materials provide opportunities for students to practice grade-level word recognition skills and apply word-analysis skills both in and out of context. The lessons build spelling knowledge and include systematic instruction of orthographic rules and patterns identified in the TEKS. The materials include support for students in need of remediation.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide a scope and sequence document that includes information about target skills in each unit, including phonics and spelling. For example, the document shows that in Unit 1, students study four specific word patterns: words with mb and mp, words with nv, words with b and v, and words with r and rr. The teacher follows a weekly routine for introducing the words. First, the teacher displays and pronounces each word, emphasizing the focus pattern. Next, the teacher points out the orthographic pattern and provides a sentence from the “Oraciones del dictado” list (e.g., “embarcar, énfasis en mb, vamos a embarcar en una hora.” Then, the students take a pretest and self-assess. The materials provide differentiated spelling lists for each pattern.
In Unit 2, the small group lesson for Approaching-Level students includes an intervention lesson called “Phonics/Decoding: Palabras con c, s, z.” The teacher follows the “Yo, Juntos, Ustedes” routine to model, provide guided practice, and check for understanding. In the “I do” section, the teacher says, “se escriben con s los adjetivos terminados en -osa y -oso, como celosos y aceitosa” and “se escriben con z los sustantivos aumentativos terminados en -aza y -azo, como melaza y batazo.” In the “We do” step, the teacher writes “amoroso, pegajosa, manaza,” and “balonazo” on the board and guides students to divide the syllables before identifying those that have c, s, and z. In the “You do” step, the teacher adds six words to the list. Students divide the syllables, identify syllables with the target sounds, and read the words in unison.
In Unit 3, the students apply word analysis skills to learn Latin roots during a vocabulary lesson that complements the anchor text. The teacher explains, “Una raíz es la parte básica de una palabra,” and points out that many Spanish words have Latin roots such as “sentido,” which comes from the Latin sensus. The teacher demonstrates how to identify the root in “marinos” (mar) by examining the word in context. Students work in pairs to figure out the meanings of other words in the text (e.g., “transportados, asignar, hábitats”).
In Unit 4, spelling instruction focuses on “División en sílabas: diptongos, triptongos, y hiatos” and includes differentiated lessons for small groups. For example, the teacher follows the gradual release of responsibility routine to teach about diphthongs. The teacher explains, “En español hay vocales abiertas: a, e, y o; y vocales cerradas: i e u.” The teacher models words with two vowels next to each other (“nieve” and “nuestros”) and divides the syllables. The teacher adds words to the list—”resistencia, viento, anciano”—and guides students to divide the syllables. For independent practice, the students continue the syllable division routine with six more words: “anzuelo, nautrico, huesped, naufrago, aire, paisaje, residuo.”
In Unit 5, the whole group lesson focuses on root words. The teacher introduces the spelling words for the week, reads them aloud, and emphasizes the roots. The materials state: “Subraye las raíces de audífono, polígono y antibiótico. Explique a los estudiantes que las palabras se pueden dividir en partes y que la raíz es la parte invariable de ellas.” The teacher thinks aloud about determining the meaning of the words and asks the students to think of other words with the same roots. The teacher reads each spelling word aloud, emphasizes the root, and provides a sentence. The students open the student workbook with the list of words and prepare for the pretest by folding the paper in half. The teacher dictates each word; the students write the words and then open the paper to self-assess the pretest.
In Unit 6, students review homophones during their spelling lesson. The teacher reminds students that homophones are words that sound the same and may be written the same but have different meanings. The teacher displays pairs of homophones and asks students to read and repeat the words. The following day, students review the homophones, and the teacher leads students in guided practice to sort words in a chart. Students draw a four-column chart with the labels “Homófonos con v, homófonos con b, homófonos con h, homófonos sin h.” Students read and write word pairs such as “barón/varón” and “hacia/Asia” in the chart. On the third day of word study, the students write three sentences with missing words in their notebooks. The students fill in the blanks with a spelling word. The teacher directs students to write other sentences and leave a blank in place of the homophones. Students work with partners to find the missing words.
The materials include diagnostic tools and provide opportunities to assess student mastery, in and out of context, at regular intervals for teachers to make instructional adjustments. The assessment tools support and direct teachers to measure students’ growth in and mastery of foundational skills. The materials provide guidance and direction to meet students’ literacy needs based on assessment data. The materials support teachers in helping students to self-monitor for comprehension and reread when appropriate.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include a comprehensive collection of diagnostic tools to support and direct teachers to assess students’ growth in foundational skills. The collection is called “Evaluación del nivel y diagnóstico” and is intended for grades K–5. It contains inventories to assess Spanish phonological awareness, letter naming, phonics, oral reading, and spelling. The tool includes an informal reading inventory to assess comprehension and accuracy, as well as quick-check observation forms for primary and intermediate grades. The overview explains the rationale for using multiple measures for assessment and includes a planning and pacing guide. The introduction provides information for teachers about the types of assessments. For example, the resource defines a screening test as “a short, skill-specific instrument that can be administered quickly to give a general idea of what a student knows.” Diagnostic assessments are described as “expanded screening tests that provide more items and additional ways to determine a student’s knowledge of a skill and to monitor the student’s progress with that skill throughout the school year.” The resource defines and discusses other assessments (i.e., placement tests, progress monitoring assessments, and summative assessments).
Each section in the placement and diagnostic assessment resource begins with an introduction and directions for administration and scoring. For example, the phonics survey called “Fonética y descodificación” has scripted steps for teachers while delivering the test. Step 1 tells the teacher to state: “Voy a pedirles que lean algunas letras, palabras y oraciones. Así sabré qué palabras leen con facilidad y qué palabras necesitan aprender.” There are ten tasks that progress from beginning skills, such as letter naming and open and closed syllables, to more complex tasks, such as diphthongs and hiatus and prefixes and suffixes. The survey indicates suggested grade levels for the tasks on the teacher scoring sheet. It provides tips for where to start and when to discontinue the assessment due to lack of mastery or frustration.
The most extensive component of the placement and diagnostic assessment book is the “Prueba informal de lectura (PIL),” or informal reading inventory. This assessment provides feedback on the student’s comprehension and accuracy and provides the teacher with the student’s independent, instructional, and frustration reading level. Teachers identify an appropriate starting point for the student by administering a graded word list that includes Dolch words, story words, and words with appropriate sound-spelling sequences for that level. The materials provide steps for administering the PIL, including a detailed example of how to code a running record. There are two fiction and two nonfiction passages per grade level, and students read orally to assess fluency and silently to measure comprehension.
The placement and diagnostic assessment book provides guidance on how often to use the assessments. For example, in the introduction to the fluency assessment, the tool contains a chart with the three recommended benchmarks for fall, winter, and spring. It explains how each grade level should show growth according to the norms. In addition, the assessments in the resource explain how the diagnostic tools inform instruction. The developmental spelling inventory, for example, includes a feature analysis and “Words Spelled Correctly Planning Chart” that indicate instructional and generative word study objectives for students based on their performance.
The materials include a complementary resource to the diagnostic and assessment book called the “Manual de evaluación.” It is divided into three parts: “Part 1: Assessment Options”; “Part 2: Using Assessment to Guide Instruction”; and “Part 3: Additional Resources and Included Forms.” The overview for this resource explains that the purpose is “to help you manage the use of multiple assessments.” It includes basic definitions and clear guidance about how assessment data helps teachers address student needs. The manual provides a chart on assessment options that indicates the component (e.g., placement, fluency, progress monitoring, etc.) and how and when to administer the assessment.
The materials embed guidance about assessment and instructional support at regular intervals throughout the units. Each two-week genre study includes a chart on formally assessed skills (e.g., problem/solution) and indicates informal sources of data for teachers such as the “Reading/Writing Companion” and the student workbook. A section called “Making the Most of Assessment Results” accompanies the chart and explains tools for analyzing assessments as well as reteaching/intervention opportunities online and suggestions for regrouping students per assessment results. The “Teacher’s Edition” refers teachers to collections of intervention lesson plans specifically for the different reading components (i.e., comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, phonics, and writing/grammar).
In addition, the materials emphasize the strategy of rereading to monitor comprehension and deepen understanding throughout the units. For example, the guide includes a section called “Volver a leer” when students read the anchor text La creacion de una nacion. The teacher reminds students, “Pueden volver a leer las oraciones o apartados difíciles y hacer y responder preguntas con el fin de ampliar y corroborar su comprensión.” The teacher models the strategy and guides students to create an anchor chart with points about rereading. In the student workbook, there are embedded prompts and questions in green font that say “Volver a leer,” encouraging students to regularly engage in this practice while reading stories, poems, and articles.
The materials provide frequent opportunities for students to practice and develop oral and silent reading fluency while reading a wide variety of grade-appropriate texts at the appropriate rate with accuracy and expression to support comprehension. The materials include explicit instruction in fluency and provide opportunities and routines for teachers to regularly monitor and provide corrective feedback on phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include a handbook for teachers called “Evaluación de fluidez, Grados 1-6.” This resource provides an introduction to fluency and answers questions such as “¿Qué es la fluidez?” and “¿Por qué la fluidez es importante?” The handbook guides teachers to understand how and when to assess fluency for letter naming, sounds, syllables, words, and passages. Charts provide the Lexile levels for the passages and national norms for rate (words per minute) for grades 1–6 in the fall, winter, and spring. In addition to measuring words read per minute, the passages assess prosody and check for comprehension. The teacher rates prosody on a rubric with four levels. The Level 1 descriptor states: “El estudiante lee palabra por palabra, con algunas frases más largas; no tiene un fraseo adecuado o una velocidad apropiada; lee el pasaje con excesiva lentitud.” A Level 4 reader “lee frases largas y con sentido; ocasionalmente puede repetir palabras o frases cortas, pero la estructura y la sintaxis general del pasaje no se ven afectadas; lee a un ritmo adecuado y con expresividad.” The systematic directions for the teacher indicate that the student reads aloud for one minute, finishes the passage, and answers two comprehension questions; an answer key is provided.
In Unit 1, the students practice reading with expression during the shared reading of Una vida en el bosque, which is about the life of Henry David Thoreau. The teacher explains that “los buenos lectores cambian el volumen y el tono de la voz con el fin de reflejar las emociones y el estado de ánimo que transmite el texto,” and then models using a section of the text. The guide includes specific tips for the teacher to demonstrate expression and tone of voice while reading Thoreau’s words. Students echo read, one sentence at a time. Students practice the skill of reading with expression by chorally reading the same excerpt and then working in small groups to orally read the differentiated genre passage “En casa en el desierto.”
In Unit 2, the teacher leads a lesson about the folktale La tortuga y el conejo. The teacher guides students to set a purpose before reading and note questions and interesting words in the margin during the shared reading. After the shared reading lesson, students read the text independently. As they read, questions in the sidebar of the anthology prompt students to analyze the text structure, make connections to other texts, and reread to make meaning. For example, the sidebar includes a question on making predictions that states, “Buscar evidencias: ¿Crees que Tortuga logrará ganar a Conejo? Explica tu respuesta.” The sidebar also includes reminders to reread. For example, a green flag states, “Releer: ¿Como muestra el autor la importancia de elaborar un plan?”
In Unit 3, students practice rate during the fluency mini-lesson. The teacher explains that rate is “la velocidad con la que leen.” The teacher models varying the rate when reading an excerpt from the anchor text Superhéroes del derrame del Golfo. The students practice the skill by alternating paragraphs with a partner and mimicking the rate demonstrated by the teacher. The students extend the practice of reading fluently with the online differentiated genre passage “La construcción de una ciudad ecológica.”
In Unit 4, the students take part in a “Reader’s Theater” of the play La puerta de oro, which is about a young Italian couple who immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island. The teacher explains the features of a play, reviews the cast of characters, and explains the historical era. The teacher models reading the play as students follow along in their scripts. The lesson plan emphasizes prosody, reminding the teacher “que ponga énfasis en la expresividad y el fraseo apropiados.” The teacher divides the class into groups and allows students time to practice their parts in the play. The materials suggest the teacher pair fluent readers with less fluent readers and that “las parejas pueden leer sus papeles a coro o repitiendo en voz alta.” The teacher monitors and supports less fluent readers by noting pauses in their scripts with one slash for a short pause and two slashes for longer pauses. Students practice the play throughout the week before performing in small groups or for the whole class. The lesson concludes with independent reading of the play and response to questions such as “¿Por qué sabe el público que la acción regresa a 1941?” and “¿Cómo mejoran o contribuyen a la obra los saltos hacia atrás y hacia adelante en el tiempo?”
In Unit 5, the daily lesson includes a fluency section. The students practice proper ritmo, or rate. The teacher explains that “ritmo indica la velocidad con la que se lee un texto.” The teacher models with an excerpt from the anchor text, Los hijos del escriba. The teacher first demonstrates reading too quickly and then again at a more careful pace. The teacher asks, “¿Cuál ritmo hizo más comprensible el texto que leí?” The students practice in pairs reading the excerpt at the proper rate, while the teacher monitors and provides corrective feedback. The students extend the practice with reading rate by orally reading the online differentiated passage “Bello el español, y Bello, quien lo preservó.”
The materials include a handbook specifically for fluency called “Intervención: Fluidez, Grados 3-6.” The resource contains multi-tiered lessons on fluency routines, high-frequency words, precision, and other fluency skills such as intonation, expression, and rate. For example, Lesson 3 focuses on a choral reading routine. The lesson is broken into a teaching/modeling section, guided practice, and application. The lesson also has a “Fluent Reading Checklist” that highlights behaviors such as “Leer oraciones en fragmentos o en frases.” “Enfatizar palabras importantes.”
The materials include a variety of developmentally appropriate diagnostic tools for formative and summative progress monitoring. The materials provide guidance for consistent, accurate administration and tools for students to track their own progress and growth. The diagnostic tools address content and process skills for SLAR, as outlined in the TEKS.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher handbook “Evaluación del nivel y diagnóstico” includes screeners and diagnostic tests that evaluate “reconocimiento fonológico y fonético, nombrar letras y visualización de palabras, decodificación, fluidez, prueba informal de lectura, ortografía, vocabulario y comprensión.” The introduction gives an overview of assessment and guidance for placement decisions for grades K, 1, 2–3, and 4–5. The introduction explains that assessments can be used for screening and placement into the following instructional levels: “On Grade Level,” “Beyond Level,” or “Approaching Level.” The handbook provides an “Assessment Planning and Pacing Guide” and “Assessment Record Sheets.” Assessment directions in the Evaluación del nivel y diagnóstico include scripted directions in Spanish for assessment administration for the teacher. However, most information for teachers in this handbook is provided only in English.
Informal assessments in the handbook include “Quick Checks Observation Forms” for primary and intermediate levels throughout the units. The materials state, “Every assignment or activity allows you to assess reading behaviors.” The materials encourage teachers to be systematic in their approach to informally observing and recording data. The Quick Checks Observations Form includes space for teachers in the intermediate grades to record data related to the student’s “Phonics/Word Study,” “Fluency,” “Comprehension,” and “Vocabulary” performance.
Teachers find guidance for consistent and accurate administration of diagnostic tools. For example, the Evaluación del nivel y diagnóstico handbook includes an assessment of “Vocabulario” called the “Critchlow Verbal Language Scales, K–5.” For this assessment, the examiner provides a series of spoken words in increasing order of difficulty, and students say the opposite of each word. Before beginning the test, the teacher determines that the student understands what an opposite is by saying, “Si no es de día es de...” and “En la escuela hay niños, y también….” The directions specify administration conditions (i.e., “individual and approximate testing time of 15 minutes”).
In the “Carpeta de recursos,” the teacher has access to an extensive collection of benchmark books for conducting running records. This guide, written in Spanish, includes multiple books at different levels for grades K–5. The table of contents includes a chart with correlations between the “Reading Wonders Benchmark,” “Guided Reading,” DRA, and Lexile levels. The introduction explains that “Running Records ayuda a los maestros a identificar el nivel de lectura, el estilo y el uso de las estrategias de lectura del estudiante.” The guide recommends that the teacher administer running records every three to four weeks “para controlar el progreso y documentar las estrategias de desarrollo del estudiante.” The guide includes explicit directions for administration and scoring as well as details regarding how to diagnose the student’s reading level accurately.
The unit evaluation handbook, “Evaluaciones de la unidad,” is written in Spanish and explains summative assessment opportunities in Units 1–6. The teacher learns about the objective, focus, and purpose of these assessments in the “Introducción para el maestro.” The materials state that the unit assessments “se centran en áreas clave de las artes del lenguaje en español identificadas por los conocimientos y destrezas esenciales de Texas (TEKS).” Each unit assessment includes fiction and informational passages with multiple-choice questions that focus on the unit’s standards. The answer key for the multiple-choice questions includes the content focus for each question, the TEKS, the complexity level of each question (DOK), and an explanation of the answer choices. Also, the unit assessments for grades 3–5 include revising and editing items as well as a written composition prompt accompanied by a scoring rubric.
Students monitor and reflect on their own progress with the “Autoevaluación de la lectura.” This checklist asks students to reflect on how frequently they demonstrate certain behaviors before, during, and after reading. For example, in the “Antes de leer,” or “Before Reading” section, students self-assess whether they never, seldom, or always comprehend the purpose of their reading. Another tool students can use to reflect on their own progress is found in the “Evalúa tu progreso: ¿Qué Aprendi?” sections of the “Mi libro de lectura y escritura.” At the end of each unit, students complete a rubric to self-assess on SLAR skills from the three genre studies (e.g., “Punto de vista del autor,”“Causa y efecto,” “Prefijos y sufijos,” and “Homófonos”). The rubric has four levels. Level 4 states, “Puedo identificar con éxito todos los ejemplos de esta destreza.” Level 1 states, “Necesito trabajar más en esta destreza.” Students reflect in writing in the workbook about the skill they need to work more on and why. The materials also include student self-evaluation for writing portfolio pieces.
The materials include guidance for teachers to analyze and respond to data from diagnostic tools. Diagnostic tools yield meaningful information for teachers to use when planning instruction and differentiation. Teachers receive guidance and direction about responding to individual students’ needs in all domains, based on student progress measures appropriate to the developmental level. The materials provide various resources and teacher guidance on how to leverage different activities to respond to student data. The materials provide guidance for administrators to support teachers in analyzing and responding to data.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Manual de evaluación” provides an overview of assessment and the options available to teachers. Part Two of the manual contains information on “Using Assessment to Guide Instruction,” with seven subsections: “Using Multiple Measures, Managing the Information, Forming Groups, Assessment Opportunities, Feedback, Making Instructional Decisions, High-Stakes Testing.” The manual explains how teachers can use assessment data to inform instruction. For example, the materials encourage teachers to interpret the data collected from various assessments to decide, “What can you do to meet the student’s learning needs?” The guide recommends that teachers continually collect information about students’ progress and modify or adjust instruction if students are not achieving the expected results. The subsection includes a series of questions that help teachers make instructional decisions for grouping, learning goals or objectives, materials, methods, and rate of instruction, such as “Which goals or objectives will I teach?” and “How much time should be allotted to each lesson?” Part Three of the manual contains additional resources to support teachers in using assessment to inform instruction: “Accommodations, Response to Intervention, and Recording Forms.”
The Manual de evaluación is written in English with occasional references to Spanish assessments. The manual does not consistently include Spanish materials or explanations of the availability of assessments in Spanish. For example, the manual refers to the Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) as a diagnostic and progress monitoring assessment without reference to Tejas Lee, the Spanish counterpart. The manual also refers to DIBELS Next as a progress monitoring tool but does not mention that many of the DIBELS Next probes are not in Spanish.
The “Running Records/Benchmark Books” for K–5 include guidance for teachers in Spanish on how to use running records to respond to students’ needs. The guide explains, “Running Records ayuda a los maestros a identificar el nivel de lectura, el estilo y el uso de las estrategias de lectura del estudiante.” The guide recommends that teachers administer running records every three to four weeks and use the information to determine the student’s reading level. The guide explains how to gather data regarding comprehension through “Volver a contar” and “Comprobar la comprensión.” The teacher scores the retelling on a four-point rubric, records the student’s oral answer to the comprehension questions, calculates the student’s accuracy rate, and checks off observed reading behaviors. The running record form helps the teacher compile the information, analyze the results, and use the data to differentiate instruction according to students’ needs.
The “Evaluación del nivel y diagnóstico” tool guides teachers to make placement decisions based on student data. For example, the “Grades 2–3 Placement Decisions” flowchart indicates that students who score in the 50th percentile or higher on the “Oral Reading Fluency Assessment” and 80% correct or higher on the “Reading Comprehension Tests” should begin instruction with “On Level” materials. The flowchart indicates that teachers can move students who score high on placement assessments and easily complete On Level assignments to “Beyond Level” materials. The Placement Decisions flowchart recommends that teachers use additional assessments and subtests such as phonics subtests and sight word fluency assessments to determine placement and instruction for students at “Approaching Level.”
The materials provide an administrator’s observation tool that includes beginning-of-the-year, mid-year, and end-of-year forms. The tool includes sections for teaching whole groups and small groups. The checklist allows administrators to rate evidence of the indicators as “yes,” “in progress,” “no,” or “not observed.” Indicators include expectations for proper use of diagnostics to inform instruction (e.g., “Teacher administered placement and diagnostic assessments at beginning of year and set up groups for differentiated instruction.”) The mid-year and end-of-year observation forms have sections on “Using Assessments,” with indicators to ensure teachers complete progress-monitoring assessments, take unit assessments, and complete a benchmark exam or a test prep assessment. The “Using Data and Reports” section includes indicators such as “ensure online assessments and downloadable resources are used to provide students with targeted support.”
The materials offer a short video titled “Administrator Tips: Best Practices for Implementation.” The tips in the video address sharing research, providing central oversight, setting up curriculum advisory boards, and organizing ongoing training. However, the five-minute video is in English and does not address specifics such as how administrators can support teachers with data analysis and planning differentiated instruction.
The materials include frequent, embedded opportunities for monitoring progress. Routine and systematic progress monitoring opportunities allow teachers to measure and track student progress accurately. The frequency of progress monitoring is appropriate for the age and content skill.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Manual de evaluación” includes a section titled “What Is Progress Monitoring Assessment?” and a bulleted list of definitions. The manual includes explanations of various diagnostic assessment tools that teachers use for progress monitoring of phonological awareness, phonics and decoding, spelling, fluency, and reading comprehension. The guide recommends that teachers “use the results of progress monitoring assessment to guide instructional decision-making.” The manual makes recommendations for how to manage student placement with assessment results. For example, the guide states: “Place the student in a small group and continue to monitor his or her progress with additional assessments to make sure your hypothesis was correct. If it wasn’t, change the placement and the instruction.” The manual introduction includes an “Assessment Options” chart that lists the progress monitoring assessments found at the end of each genre study and unit for reading comprehension, vocabulary strategies, literary elements, text features, grammar, mechanics, usage, and writing.
The genre studies follow a pattern of Weeks 1 and 2, Weeks 3 and 4, and Week 5 in every unit. Week 6 is dedicated to spiral and review. Each study concludes with a progress monitoring assessment of the genre study’s comprehension skills and vocabulary strategies. The materials provide assessments digitally or as printables. The tests include fiction and informational passages with multiple-choice questions and an answer key with the correct response, the content focus, the TEKS, and the complexity level (DOK). The “Evaluaciones de la unidad” occur every six weeks and evaluate students’ progress on the reading and writing TEKS addressed in the unit. The unit tests include passages for comprehension assessment as well as multiple-choice questions for usage and editing. The third component of the unit tests is writing composition, which the teacher scores with a four-point rubric. However, the genre study and unit assessments do not include reading responses. Opportunities to respond to text in writing are frequent in the student workbook. Teachers monitor progress on reading response informally throughout the units, but the inclusion of reading responses on the assessments is recommended.
The “Evaluación del nivel y diagnóstico” handbook includes “Quick Checks” as a type of informal assessment. The Quick Check approach reminds teachers “to observe students and see if any of them are having difficulty with a skill they have just learned.” The guide recommends that the teacher use the Quick Check information to decide if the skill needs to be addressed further in small group instruction. The materials provide a “Quick Check Observations Form” for intermediate students, including columns for phonics/word study, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary. The handbook also explains that every assignment allows the teacher to assess reading behaviors. Anecdotes from observation and analysis of the assignments are treated as potential sources of information about what students know, what they still need to learn, and what their misconceptions or difficulties are. The handbook also recommends classroom observations in which teachers observe students at work and play, working alone, and interacting with other students. The guide states, “Be systematic with the way you do and record observations.”
The materials recommend specific guidelines for the frequency of progress monitoring as appropriate for age and content skill. For example, the “Evaluación de fluidez” manual explains how and when to assess fluency. The guide does not recommend formally evaluating a student’s oral reading fluency in K–1 until the student acquires phonemic awareness and can recognize multiple sight words. The guide recommends that students in kindergarten and the first half of first grade develop fluency through “escuchar la lectura de libros en voz alta e imitar modelos auditivos de expresión natural.” The guidelines specify that students in the second half of first grade to sixth grade participate in oral reading fluency assessment three times per year or at the end of each unit. The materials provide 30 fiction and 30 nonfiction oral reading passages for each intermediate grade level. The materials include a Lexile chart for the passages as well as a norms chart to assess student performance. The teacher records words read per minute and assesses prosody with a four-point oral reading fluency scale.
The Assessment Options charts found in the Manual de evaluación address developmental and grade-level appropriateness for assessments. The charts detail the assessment options with columns noting the assessment component (e.g., progress monitoring, unit assessments), the test names, the grades, the type of test, when and how to give the tests, and additional information. For example, the “Phonological Awareness Subtests,” which measure phonological and phonemic awareness, are intended only for grades K–3. On the other hand, the “Phonics Survey” can be used with K–6 students as a screening and progress-monitoring tool for phonics. The chart states that teachers use the phonics survey every four to six weeks in grades 1–3 until students achieve mastery of needed skills. For grades 4–6, teachers use the phonics survey as needed.
The materials include guidance, scaffolds, supports, and extensions that maximize student learning potential. Activities guide students who have not yet mastered the content as well as those who have achieved grade-level mastery to understand the unit objectives. In addition, the instructional materials provide enrichment opportunities for all levels of learners.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include guidance, scaffolds, supports, and extensions for students who have not yet mastered the content (“Approaching Level”). Small group activities focus on three objectives throughout the units: vocabulary, fluency, and phonics/decoding. In a Unit 2 vocabulary lesson, the teacher displays “Visual Vocabulary Cards” and says, “I’ll say the word aloud.” Students then identify the word that has the same meaning and discuss it. Students work with partners to choose another word with the same meaning. During fluency instruction, the teacher reads two paragraphs and demonstrates how to monitor accuracy and vary the reading rates. Then, the teacher reads aloud as students echo each sentence. During phonics and decoding instruction, the teacher writes words on the board and reads them aloud. Students read the remaining words that follow the pattern. The teacher writes words for additional review, points to words randomly, and students chorally read each word.
In Unit 2, the teacher finds a detailed sequence for whole group instruction as well as differentiated small group instruction for all students. For example, in the shared read, the teacher begins by asking students to think about the “Essential Question,” keeping the selection’s title and the illustrations in mind. Using that information, students establish the author’s purpose and make an initial prediction about the selection’s theme. The teacher models think-aloud predictions while reading different paragraphs from the text. The Unit 2 “Teacher’s Edition” offers small group activities for “Lecturas diferenciadas de géneros literarios.” The teacher reads aloud from the text and models a scripted think-aloud about personification. The teacher guides students to read a paragraph and explain why esconderse is also an example of personification. In the application step, the students work with a partner to finish reading the text and explain how personification is reflected in the phrase “sus manos tiritaban.”
Whole group instruction in Unit 3 includes scaffolds, supports, and extensions that maximize the student learning potential for all students. For example, the teacher begins with the Essential Question “¿Cómo se explica lo que ocurrió en el pasado?” After reviewing the lesson objectives and key concepts, the teacher asks students to reread the Essential Question from their student books and explain how people study the past to try to understand it. The teacher shows a picture of a woman examining an old ceramic piece. After talking about archeologists and artifacts, the teacher asks the following questions: “¿Qué te gustaría conocer del pasado? ¿Cómo buscarías y reconstruiremos los restos del pasado?” Students work in pairs or small groups to answer the questions, create a graphic organizer, and discuss what they have learned about explaining the past. Unit 3 materials also include a detailed close reading routine in which teachers guide students through a reading step, a rereading step, and an integration step. In the reading step, students identify main ideas and details, take notes and summarize, and follow the text guidelines as needed. In the reread step, students analyze the text and its structure. In the integration step, students work in their “Libro de lectura y escritura” to make text connections. On the other hand, the materials offer little specific guidance for scaffolding, such as sentence stems, partially completed graphic organizers, or additional examples for those who have not mastered the content.
Unit 4 provides small group activities for students who have mastered the content. Comprehension instruction is divided into two sections: “read independently and read purposefully.” During independent reading, the students choose a play for sustained silent reading. The teacher reminds students to identify each character’s point of view. Students use descriptions and prior knowledge to visualize. To read purposefully, the teacher encourages students to read different kinds of plays to increase understanding of the genre. Students fill out a point-of-view graphic organizer and share reactions with classmates.
Unit 6 focuses on poetry and guides all students to learn about the genre through reading and writing. While working with small groups, students read leveled books, and the teacher asks, “How does the poetic voice convey his connection with his past even if it shows a description of an event of the present?” The teacher explores the author’s craft through questions such as “What do you learn about the speaker from the poem?” Students reread and develop a summary of the poem to develop a deeper understanding of the text. In addition, the teacher challenges students to memorize and recite poems using appropriate rate, expression, and gestures. Later in the unit, students write a lyrical poem. Over the course of several lessons, the teacher walks students through the process of revising, peer conferencing, editing, and publishing. The teacher refers to tips for differentiation for the revising stage in the “Escritura diferenciada” tab. The teacher supports students in the “Nivel inicial” by checking their drafts to ensure the inclusion of concrete words. In comparison, “On Level” students work in pairs to check each other’s drafts while looking for concrete words that complement abstract concepts.
Finally, the “Carpeta de recursos” provides an array of supporting instructional materials for all learners; for instance leveled readers, such as “Amenaza para los océanos,” are found in three different levels (“Nivel inicial, A Nivel, Nivel avanzado”). In leveled reader lessons, the teacher asks questions to connect ideas, review key vocabulary, and examine sentence structure. Additional Tier 2 instructional resources address five different objectives: “Comprensión, Escritura y gramática, Fluidez, Fonética y taller de palabras, Vocabulario.” The Carpeta de recursos provides access to Time for Kids articles, short readings that support each unit, and “Reader’s Theater.”
The materials provide a variety of instructional methods that appeal to a variety of learning interests and needs. The instructional approaches are developmentally appropriate and engage students in mastery of the content. The strategies are multimodal and support flexible grouping of students. Guided, independent, and collaborative practices provide guidance and structures to achieve effective implementation.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Unit 1 includes specific tips for the teacher to model think-alouds and notetaking in the “Reading/Writing Companion” for the realistic fiction genre study. The teacher releases the responsibility to students to reread paragraphs and take notes about their reading. As the students read, they focus on specific objectives, such as story elements, plot sequence, context clues, and vocabulary. As students develop an understanding of how to sequence a story, the teacher shifts the lesson to student-centered work. Students work with partners to summarize orally and then summarize in writing in their “Writers’ Notebook.”
In Unit 2, students engage with the foundational skill of oral language. While reading an interactive read-aloud about endangered animals (Un lobo joven y un zorro Viejo), the teacher reminds students that paraphrasing means using their own words. In “Motivar a la acción,” students research the question “How do humans endanger animals?” and share with peers. In “Estudio independiente,” students brainstorm questions related to the Time for Kids article “¿Qué puedo hacer para ayudar a los animales en peligro de extinción?” The teacher reviews how to find relevant information. Students present what they learned about helping endangered animals.
In Unit 3, the teacher and students collaboratively create an anchor chart with characteristics of the argumentative genre. Students refer to the anchor chart while completing a graphic organizer in “Mi libro de lectura y escritura.” The student book has a web with spaces for four details that support the point of view “El autor está a favor de que el quipu era una forma de lenguaje.”
Unit 4 has small group differentiated vocabulary instruction for “Approaching Level” readers that incorporates the gradual release of responsibility. The teacher begins by displaying “Visual Vocabulary Cards.” The teacher reads the words and spells the words as part of the “I do” step. In the “We do” step, the teacher asks the students to read the word and spell the word. The teacher models how to use the word in a sentence, and students repeat the sentence. In the “You do” step, the teacher displays the word again and asks the students to read and write the word. The explicit gradual release structure is consistent throughout the units for small group vocabulary, fluency, and phonics lessons for Approaching Level students.
In Unit 5, the materials offer guidance for three leveled reader groups (i.e., “Approaching, On Level, Beyond Level”). The small groups focus on previewing and predicting, reviewing the genre, and close reading with a graphic organizer. The close reading activity includes guided reading practice with chunking and questioning. For example, after reading the first two pages, the teacher stops and asks students the following question: “¿Con qué raíz griega se descifra el significado de astrónomos?” The final task in the differentiated small group lesson is a fluency activity.
The materials provide activities that can be used as student-led practice in collaborative groups and independently. However, there are no resources specifically for learning centers. Furthermore, though Tier II support is found throughout the units and in the “Carpeta de recursos,” there is little specific guidance for students in need of one-on-one support.
The “Instructional Routines Handbook,” found in the “Carpeta de recursos,” includes dozens of routines for word work, reading, writing and grammar, and research and inquiry. For example, the section “How Does Wonders Teach Close Reading?” provides a chart with specific components used to teach, model, and guide students to closely read. The chart is divided into eight steps: introduce the genre, teach the shared read, teach craft and structure, respond to reading, read the anchor text, make connections, teach in small groups, and encourage independent reading.”
The Instructional Routines Handbook also includes guidance for reading and writing conferences with students. Reading conferences have five steps: make positive observations about reading or book choice; talk about the reading; listen to the student read aloud for 1–2 minutes; highlight a strength; suggest a specific goal; and record notes from the conference. Writing conferences have three steps: talk about strengths (teacher points out strengths in the story); focus on skills (teacher gives specific feedback); and make concrete suggestions (teacher provides specific directions for revision).
The materials do not include supports for English Learners (ELs) to meet grade-level learning expectations. The materials do not include accommodations for linguistics commensurate with various levels of English language proficiency. The materials do not encourage strategic use of students’ primary language as a means to develop linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic skills in the target language.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials are in Spanish and dedicated to the development of literacy skills in the Spanish language. Units 1–6 support Spanish language acquisition through the use of videos, visuals, and high-quality texts in Spanish. However, there is no evidence that the materials provide accommodations for ELs with various levels of English proficiency. The materials do not encourage strategic use of students’ primary language as a means to develop linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic skills in English. The goal is to develop literacy skills in the Spanish language that will serve as a bridge to literacy in English.
The materials include year-long plans with practice and review opportunities that support instruction. The year-long plan is cohesive and builds students’ concept development from year to year. The materials provide spiraled review and practice of knowledge and skills in all domains throughout the span of the curriculum.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In the “Carpeta de recursos” tab, the “Wonders Research Base Alignment” guide (available only in English) states, “It is vital that curricula are aligned with rigorous research and learning standards.” The guide provides information on how the materials align with standards, research, and curricula with a focus on the following key processes: text comprehension, speaking and listening, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, fluency, vocabulary and language, conventions, writing, and social-emotional learning. The guide includes a chart that provides examples of alignment for each of the key processes. For example, under text comprehension research recommendations, specifically “Analyze the meaning of text through group discussion,” the guide notes the location of aligned lessons throughout the grade levels. The guide describes the materials’ regular practices, such as “Shared Read, Talk About It, and Collaborative Conversations,” as evidence that students have frequent opportunities to make connections, discuss, summarize, and listen within each unit of instruction across the grade levels.
The teacher resource section also includes a scope and sequence document for the year called “Plan general de cursos.” This document outlines the genre studies within the six units and the concepts the students learn each week. For example, in Unit 1, students learn about text features while reading primary and secondary sources. Students receive additional instruction in text features in Unit 2 while reading problem-and-solution expository text; in Unit 3 while reading biography; in Unit 4 while reading expository text; and in Unit 5 while reading historical nonfiction. The materials provide spiraled review of various standards in this manner.
The materials include focused practice of foundational skills within the units and spiraled review across the span of the curriculum. For example, in Unit 1, the students practice intonation in their fluency lesson during Week 1 and rate during Week 4. In Week 6, the materials emphasize phrasing, intonation, and expression with a “Reader’s Theater” titled No se puede hacer. The teacher models reading fluently with proper phrasing and expression. The students practice their fluency skills as they rehearse and prepare to perform the play. The lesson plans include similar strategic work on fluency throughout the year.
Within the units, the materials include clear plans to introduce new content and build upon prior knowledge. For example, in Unit 2, spelling lessons focus on “Palabras con ge, gi, j.” The teacher uses the “Oraciones de dictado” during the pre-test, and students self-assess when finished. The teacher then displays the week’s spelling cards, and students identify the spelling pattern for each card. Throughout the week, the teacher guides practice with the words. For example, the teacher and students collaborate on sentences with the spelling words and a brainstorming activity on word families for ge, gi, j. Students engage in extended practice by completing open and closed word sorts as well as digital activities with error correction and syllable division.
The materials demonstrate developmental advancement as the year progresses. For example, students review the main idea and key details, a skill learned in the primary grades, in Unit 3, while reading the expository text La cola de Winter. The materials build on student understanding of the main idea with the study of theme. In Unit 3, students explore theme while reading the anchor text Esperanza renace; in Unit 4 while reading poetry; and in Unit 6 while reading historical fiction, El código indescifrable. Identifying the theme requires students to look at the overall message of the entire text, which is a more complex task than the main idea.
The plans include clear and explicit guidance for content instruction. An “Essential Question” frames each genre study. For example, the first genre study of Unit 1 is narrative nonfiction; the Essential Question is “¿Cómo puede una vivencia cambiar tu manera de pensar sobre la naturaleza?” In the “Weekly Organizer,” the plans include an overview of the whole group and small group lessons. The design is systematic across the week and includes essential elements such as listening comprehension, shared reading, comprehension strategy instruction, vocabulary, and grammar. Each lesson includes semi-scripted directions in Spanish and English for the teacher and tabs to explain key points such as standards, learning objectives, and routines. Links to the student workbook, the “Reading/Writing Companion,” and other materials provide access to supporting and extension activities for the students.
The materials include implementation support for teachers, including a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence that outlines the essential knowledge and skills taught in the program. The materials provide support for teachers to implement the materials as intended and include a school year’s worth of instruction with realistic pacing guidance and routines. The materials include sufficient resources and guidance to help administrators support teachers in implementing the materials as intended.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher resource section includes the “Plan general del curso,” a scope and sequence document that outlines the TEKS-aligned concepts and skills to be taught at each grade level in the order in which they should be implemented by the teacher. The guide is organized by unit and identifies the three genre studies within each unit, framed by “Essential Questions.” The document lists the titles of texts to be read in each genre study as well as basic details about the objectives for comprehension; vocabulary; phonics and spelling; fluency; writing and grammar; and research and inquiry. The Plan general del curso provides an overview of the unit’s objectives for “Read Aloud,” “Shared Read,” “Literature Anthology,” “Leveled Readers,” and “Vocabulary.”
A menu of videos addresses the following themes for a teacher new to the program: “Overview, Structure and Resources, Teacher Materials, Set Up the Classroom, Get to Know Your Students.” The overview informs teachers that there are six units of instruction and three genre studies per unit. The first two genres of each unit are two weeks long, the third genre is one week long, and the sixth week of each unit is “Review, Extend, and Assess.”
The genre study guides, located in the teacher resource tab, catalog the TEKS addressed in each two-week genre study cycle. The study guide, available online as a PDF, includes lesson plans with TEKS-aligned objectives and details to support implementation. Each lesson plan in the study guide is sequenced and semi-scripted, providing teachers with necessary questions, scaffolds, and extensions. Teachers access lesson plans in the digital calendar called “Organizador semanal.” This calendar provides an overview of the week for the teacher and facilitates navigation to daily lesson components. The daily components include the essential knowledge and skills for the day’s lessons. The TEKS can be viewed at a glance in the “Estándares semanales” tab. This tool lists the standards for the lessons and how many times each standard is taught in a given week.
The materials provide a pacing guide that suggests a timeline for implementation to ensure the delivery of a year’s worth of instruction. The “Professional Development: Suggested Lesson Plans and Pacing Guides” handbook includes three flexible pacing guides for grades 3–6: 60 minutes, 90 minutes, and 120 minutes. Each model includes the number of suggested minutes for whole group and small group lessons as well as options for modification and extension.
The “Instructional Routines Handbook” outlines important concepts for teachers such as the gradual release of responsibility, student-driven learning, and differentiated learning. The handbook explains the program model and philosophy, followed by sections on “Collaborative Conversations”; “Word Work”; “Reading”; “Writing and Grammar”; and “Research and Inquiry”. Within each section, the teacher finds explicit and sequenced routines to follow in the classroom such as sentence segmentation, “Define/Example/Ask,” and close reading. More than 40 routines are described.
Materials include some resources to guide administrators in understanding appropriate learning environments, structures, and approaches to Spanish Language Arts and Reading in grades 3–6. Administrators can watch a three-minute video overview of the program’s instructional focus as well as a video on administrator best practices. The “T-TESS Coaching Guide” explains how the curriculum supports teachers in the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) dimensions. This guide recommends that the administrator “reviews the instructional element and uses coaching questions to facilitate reflection to ensure quality instruction is embedded, embraced, and taught with fidelity.” Furthermore, materials provide feedback templates to assist administrators in providing effective feedback to classroom teachers that specifically aligns to the implementation of the publisher’s materials. Guidance and questions assist administrators in providing feedback.
The materials provide implementation guidance to meet variability in programmatic design and scheduling considerations. The sequence of content is explicit and follows a developmental progression. The materials allow LEAs to incorporate the curriculum into district, campus, and teacher programmatic design and scheduling considerations.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher resources include a scope and sequence chart called “Plan del curso.” This tool shows the progression of standards for the foundational skills (i.e., phonics/spelling, grammar, and fluency). In addition, the document lists the titles of texts for each genre study as well as basic details about the objectives for comprehension; vocabulary; phonics and spelling; fluency; writing and grammar; and research and inquiry.
The “Plan” tab allows the teacher to see the layout of all six units by week and the genre study for each two-week period. Each genre study begins with an introduction to the “Essential Question” and characteristics of the genre, followed by shared reading, vocabulary, grammar, and phonics/spelling. The teacher and students revisit and extend their understanding of these components during the two-week cycle through comprehension strategy and skill instruction as well as small group and independent reading experiences. Reading response is embedded in the student workbook, called the “Reading/Writing Companion.” During each genre study, students take a related writing piece through the writing process. For example, while reading realistic fiction anchor texts, students draft, revise, and publish personal narratives. Each six-week unit culminates in a research and inquiry project and presentation that address the Essential Question explored throughout the unit.
The genre study guides explain lesson implementation and include detailed plans for whole group and small group instruction (“Approaching Level, On Level, Beyond Level”). For each lesson, teachers receive guidance regarding lesson delivery, questions to ask, and follow-up activities. The lesson plans include TEKS, learning objectives, close reading routines, vocabulary, and more. Lesson plans are semi-scripted in Spanish and English with color-coded subheadings such as blue for skills and strategies (e.g., “Volver a leer” and “Comparar y contrastar”), red for “Leer,” and green for “Releer.”
On the Plan home page, the teacher clicks on “Opciones” to eliminate non-essential lessons and hide inactive lessons. This option allows teachers to focus on literacy basics in the time allotted by the district and school. In the planning calendar, the teacher has the ability to edit to modify the schedule. For example, teachers add “un día de no enseñanza” or expand the lesson blocks to add an extra day in the sequence. The teacher also edits the order of the lessons or removes lessons as necessary. The teacher views the schedule adjustments in the “Organizador semanal,” an overview of the week.
The flexible pacing guides suggest 60-minute, 90-minute, or 120-minute timetables for implementation. Each model includes the number of suggested minutes for whole group and small group lessons as well as options for modification and extension. The pacing guides indicate activities that may be taught in small groups or in lieu of an activity in the core column. Furthermore, the resource includes a “Small Group Options” page that outlines how the 30 minutes allotted to small group instruction may be used with the different level groups.
The materials provide guidance on fostering connections between home and school. The materials develop strong relationships between teachers and families with specific activities for use at home to support students’ learning and development.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In the resource folder, teachers find back-to-school resources to support home-school connections. Resources include a digital scavenger hunt for grades 2–6 in Spanish, a digital scavenger hunt template, an “Introducing...Family Letter Template” in English and Spanish, a “Systems Requirement” document, and an “Introducing...Family Presentation” slideshow. The slide presentation provides important information about weekly letters and suggested at-home activities to enhance learning. Unfortunately, the slideshow presentation is only in English, but it is editable. The systems requirements information is only in English.
An online space called “De la escuela al hogar” allows students to view and complete school work from home. The “Para la semana” section includes weekly activities for students in three categories: “Trabajo con palabras, Chequeo de comprensión, y Listas de ortografía.” Families find weekly letters that list student learning goals on “De la escuela al hogar” and can communicate with the teacher in the “Mis mensajes” tab. The program automatically generates the letters to match the weekly objectives, but teachers can personalize as needed. Students can play digital games for skills practice from home and access the digital library. An informational document in Spanish explains how to access the digital resource for use at home. The step-by-step instructions include screenshots for support.
In Unit 1, families receive a letter that welcomes them to the program. The letter has two headings: “¿Cómo será la experiencia de su niño/niña en la clase?” and “¿Cómo será la experiencia de su niño o niña en casa?” Families can log in to see bimonthly study topics and information from the teacher. For example, “La carta a la familia” explains to parents that the class is studying the genre of realistic fiction for two weeks and that the theme is how we get the things we need. The letter lists the “Objetivos de aprendizaje” and includes vocabulary, spiral review, spelling words, and comprehension.
In Unit 2, the spelling lists are differentiated and offer activities to help students practice the words at home. The levels are “Approaching Level, On Level, and Beyond Level.” For example, the focus pattern is /b/ and /v/. Approaching Level students study words such as ver, iba, bate, and boa. On Level students have words such as libre, obra, obtener, and ubicar. Beyond Level words include viajar, bizcocho, avanzar, and adverso.
In Unit 3, La carta a la familia includes the following vocabulary activity: The family member and child complete sentences by filling in blanks with the correct word from a list of vocabulary words. The digital worksheet has eight words in the word bank, such as conservado, historiador, and fragmento. Students select a word from the bank to complete sentences such as “Encontré otro...de una antigua vasija.” The directions suggest the family member discuss with the student how doing this activity compares to the work an archeologist does when putting together a broken piece of pottery.
In Unit 4, the weekly objectives include vocabulary, spiral review, spelling, and comprehension skills practice with point of view. The family letter suggests that the family member “pide a su hijo o hija que marque el objetivo que haya cumplido.” The student accesses digital work on vocabulary and comprehension, and the materials also suggest interactive listening and speaking activities. For example, for the spiral view, the directions state: “Túrnese con su niño o niña para usar cada una de las palabras de la lista en oraciones. Cuando las hayan empleado todas, pídale a su niño o niña que las lea.”
In Unit 5, the family letter informs families that the class is studying historical fiction and focusing on the causes and effects of the Great Depression. The comprehension skill is “compare and contrast.” For vocabulary practice, the materials provide eight words, including juicioso, rumor, sabiduría. The directions suggest a guessing game activity: “Voy a eligir una de las palabras, pero no te diré cuál es. Tu debes hacerme preguntas sobre mi palabra secreta.”
In Unit 6, the spelling work focuses on words of Greek, Latin, and mythological origin. The Approaching Level list includes words such as bacteria, fotografía, and fobia while the advanced list has words such as atmosfera, tipógrafo, and genealogía. The materials suggest the family member study the words in different ways. For example, one of the suggestions involves scrambling the letters for the student to guess the word. The directions prompt the parent to say: “Voy a escribir en desorden las letras de cada una de las palabras. Tú debes ordenar las letras para descubrir las palabras y deletrearlas correctamente.”
The visual design of student and teacher materials 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 support student learning and engagement.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The digital teacher materials are efficiently organized and support easy navigation of resources. The top and side toolbars have clear labels and allow the teacher to locate information quickly. For example, the top toolbar is color-coded in dark blue and lists the following tabs: “Plan, Recursos, Evaluar y datos, Escritura e investigación, Administrar y asignar, Carpeta.” Each tab has a dropdown menu of two to six items. The unit lesson plans are systematically organized with the genre study and “Essential Question” at the top. Teachers can view a weekly overview of linked lesson components organized by day. Each link in the weekly organizer opens the page with daily lesson plans. The whole group and small group lesson components are displayed on the left toolbar with clear, colorful labels. The whole group tab opens a series of lesson components (e.g., “Introduce the Concept, Listening Comprehension, Shared Read, Vocabulary, Grammar, Spelling”). The small group tab opens lessons for “Approaching Level, On Level, Beyond Level.” Lesson plans are presented in the middle in detailed, sequenced steps with multiple print features to support understanding (e.g., bold print, italics, and key terms in red). On the right, the toolbar displays other important information, such as “Normas, Objetivos, Rutina de lectura atenta, Lectura diferenciada.”
The digital student workbook displays the story in the middle and color-coded sidebars with tasks and prompts to engage the student. The sidebars have clear headings (e.g., “Texto principal: Los tamales de guanaco”; “Lectura complementaria: Hacer conexiones”). The student workbook uses consistent icons and headings throughout the units. For example, the magnifying glass indicates “Buscar evidencias,” and the green speech bubble labeled “Releer” indicates close reading. Clipart of two students talking has a label that reads “Colabora” to prompt students to read the “Tu turno” conversational prompt. The workbook includes many editable graphic organizers throughout the units to help students record text evidence and complete higher-level-thinking tasks.
In Unit 1, during a shared reading of the expository text Una vida en el bosque, the student digital anthology displays clean and concise text. The sidebars are clearly identifiable, with a white background and a blue banner at the top that reads “Lectura compartida” on the left and the genre of the text (“Texto expositivo”) on the right. The questions and prompts in each column are clearly visible, with bold, black text on a white background. The headings for the questions are printed in larger letters and guide students where to look for answers to questions.
In Unit 2, the teacher finds tabs in the digital guide that provide brief but important details about the lesson. For example, on the first day of the unit, during the “Introduce the Concept” lesson, the teacher sees the following gray tabs on the right: “Normas, Objetivos, Lenguaje académico, Apoyo vocabulario. The objective states, “Listen actively to interpret verbal messages, ask relevant questions, and make pertinent comments.” The “Academic Language” tab displays “debate y propuesta” and the cognate, debate. The Apoyo vocabulario for the lesson includes general, bandera, costurera, propuesta, and diseño.
In Unit 3, the teacher uses quality visuals (“Tarjetas de vocabulario”) and a systematic routine to teach vocabulary from the anchor text. The guide explains that “las tarjetas introducen visualmente el vocabulario específico del programa.” The whole group instructional steps are: “1) Definición 2) Ejemplo 3) Pregunta/Pida, así como los cognados, cuando corresponda.” For example, prior to reading the anchor text ¿Cuál era el propósito de las cuerdas incas? the “Visual Vocabulary Cards” include arqueólogo, conservado, era, fragmento, historiador, intacto, reconstruir, and resto. Each card has a clear, professional image on one side, with the word in bold print above it and the routine on the other side of the card. The teacher begins by reading the definition for a word (e.g., “arqueólogo: Un arqueólogo se encarga de desenterrar y estudiar rezos de ciudades y pueblos antiguos.”) Next, the teacher gives an example: “Un arqueólogo examina lugares antiguos en busca de claves de culturas antiguas.” Then, the teacher checks for understanding with a question: “¿Qué cultura antigua investigarían si fueran arqueólogos?” Finally, the teacher flips the card to display the image of archaeologist next to hieroglyphs and provides additional information: “Este arqueólogo estudia el arte del antiguo Egipto.”
In Unit 4, the teacher guides shared reading of the play La biblioteca de mi abuelo. The graphics and pictures in the text are directly related to the drama, showing a couch in the middle of the library with two cast members reading a book together. The graphics are large and colorful and wrap around the text in a visually appealing way. The graphics connect to the events in the play and support comprehension. For example, the text says, “Pasamos toda la noche leyendo una novela,” and the graphic displays a family around a table reading a book together.
In Unit 6, under the dropdown menu for whole group lessons, there is a spelling lesson on “homófonos.” The teacher guide has “Oraciones de dictado,” with sentences such as “Le pedí que grabe mi obra.” “Juan está grave del asma.” The lesson plan provides the definition of homophones for the teacher to share with students: “Homófonos son palabras que suenan igual, a veces se escriben igual, pero tienen distinto significado.” Guided practice includes an open sort with word cards and digital practice in which students complete sentences with the correct homophone.
The materials provide clear guidance specific to bilingual program models. The materials include recommendations for how to apply the guidance and cite current, relevant research on Spanish literacy development and second language development and acquisition.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include the following videos: “Dual Language Versus English Language Instruction, How is Dual Language Instruction Different, One-Way and Two-Way Dual Language Instruction, Lesson Planning in a Dual Language Classroom, Student Interaction in a Dual Language Classroom, Setting Up a Dual Language Classroom, Effectively Pairing and Grouping Students, Dual Language: The Roles of Teacher and Student, Best Practices for Building and Maintaining Two Languages, Bridging Lessons: Transfer Learning Between Languages, Building First Language Proficiency, The Reciprocal Nature of Language Arts and English Language Instruction.”
In One-Way and Two-Way Dual Language Instruction, Dr. Josefina Tinajero discusses differences between one-way and two-way dual language instruction. She states that one-way models include “all students from one language group,” while two-way models serve monolingual English and monolingual Spanish speakers as well as students who are bilingual. She communicates the exciting opportunities offered by dual language classrooms to increase biliteracy and raise the prestige of bilingualism.
Lesson Planning in a Dual Language Classroom addresses the scheduling and fundamentals of dual language instruction, though it does not refer to a specific model such as the 90-10 or 50-50 ratio model. The presenter, Peggy Cerna, states, “Each district or school decides which content area will be taught in each language.” The presenter also emphasizes that content should be taught once in the language of instruction; there is no need to repeat objectives in the partner language. Bridging lessons connect the concept to the other language. She notes the helpful role of color-coding the language of instruction in the bridging lessons and highlights the importance of weekly bridging lessons that occur only after the teacher “is sure that her students have mastered the objective that they are working on.”
In The Reciprocal Nature of Language Arts and English Language Instruction, Dr. Jana Echevarria emphasizes the reciprocal processes of language arts instruction and language development. She discusses the concept of redundancy: “Students need to have multiple exposures to the same words to really internalize them.” Schools should strive to establish coherence between the English language arts and English language development programs, focusing on overlapping skills, vocabulary, and strategies to provide the multiple exposures students need to master literacy and language objectives. Though she does not explicitly connect these points to Spanish language learners, she communicates that all language learners need meaningful, strategic lessons that pair language arts and language development goals.
The materials provide a handbook called “Research Base Alignment: A Summary of Key Research and Demonstration of Program Alignment.” The handbook has sections on the pillars of language arts (e.g., text comprehension, phonological awareness, phonics, and word recognition) but does not specifically address dual language classrooms or Spanish language literacy. The teacher resources folder contains multiple white papers written by literacy experts such as Donald Bear and Tim Shanahan; these papers contain information applicable to all language arts classrooms. For example, Dr. Douglas Fisher defines close reading as “the instructional practice of having students critically examine a text, especially through multiple readings” in the white paper “Close Reading in Elementary Classrooms.” These resources are instructive for all teachers of language arts. However, white papers specific to dual language instruction would be valuable complements to the videos.
The “Dual Language Planner” includes side-by-side Spanish and English lessons for each unit. Transferable lessons for core instruction pair the anchor texts in the partner languages. This resource also highlights non-transferable lessons that should be taught in both languages, typically for “Grammar/Gramática” and “Spelling/Ortografía.” For example, the resource lists “Gramática el verbo: infinitivo y tiempos verbales” and “Grammar Action Verbs” as non-transferable lessons. The Dual Language Planner also provides optional instructional topics to cover if the teacher chooses. The optional lesson topics include phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and more.
In the “Carpeta de recursos,” there is a guidebook called “Guía de transferencias lingüísticas” that clarifies the connection between the two languages and identifies grammar skills and phonics sounds that are transferable and non-transferable. In the introduction to “Cognate Knowledge and Reading Comprehension,” the guide states: “Studies indicate that—under some circumstances—English learners whose first language shares cognates with English are able to draw on first language knowledge to figure out the meanings of cognates in their second language.” The guide references current research that supports the importance of cognate instruction in dual language classrooms: “Students use their first-language knowledge in inferring the meaning of unknown second-language words that are cognates (August, 2009; August, Branum-Martin, Cardenas-Hagan, & Francis, 2009; Carlo et al., 2004).” “Once taught, the transparency of cognate pairs may enhance bilingual students’ reading comprehension (August & Shanahan, 2009).”
The materials support teachers’ understanding of the connections between content presented in each language and provide guidance on how to help students understand this connection. The materials highlight opportunities for students to make cross-linguistic connections and allow for equitable instruction in both languages. The materials support teacher and student understanding and application of transferable skills between the languages.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Guía de transferencias lingüísticas” (“Language Transfers Handbook”) includes charts and instructional information about “Sound Transfers,” “Grammar Transfers,” and “Cognate Knowledge and Reading Comprehension.” The section “How to Use the Sound and Phonics Transfers Charts” guides teachers through three tasks: “1) Highlight Transferable Skills, 2) Pre-teach Non-Transferrable Skills, 3) Provide Additional Practice and Time.” The Grammar Transfer Chart has three columns: “Grammatical Form, Transfer Mistakes in English, Cause of Difficulty.” The handbook states that the information can be used “to address common mistakes that some English learners make when they transfer grammatical forms from Spanish into English,” such as the overuse of articles. The guide identifies the cause (e.g., the common use of articles in Spanish) and explains how teachers can help students transfer skills efficiently and proficiently.
The Guía de transferencias lingüísticas provides sample lessons and suggests practice activities for multiple transferable skills. For example, in the section on Sound Transfers, the guide identifies sounds /b/, /k/, and /d/ as positive transfers. In the section on cognates, the teacher explains cognates, models differences and similarities in sample cognates, and gives students an opportunity “to find cognates in authentic text.” A sample teacher lesson on the cognate word pair liberty/libertad illustrates how to present a cognate lesson and provide students with opportunities for practice.
In the daily lesson plans, cognates are highlighted as well. For example, the guide regularly includes vocabulary mini-lessons called “Palabras en contexto” that recognize cognate pairs. In addition, the “Apoyo de la lección'' sidebar has a dropdown section for “Lenguaje académico.” Content vocabulary terms that are cognates are noted in this area, such as context/contexto and synonym/sinónimo.
The “Dual Language Planner” provides side-by-side lesson plans in English and Spanish. The planner pairs skills that transfer with applicable anchor texts and highlights non-transferable lessons in yellow. The planner identifies transferable skills in multiple areas (e.g., writing, grammar, vocabulary, fluency). The non-transferable skills are typically grammar and spelling. For example, the resource lists “Gramática el verbo: infinitivo y tiempos verbales” and “Grammar Action Verbs” as non-transferable lessons. The Dual Language Planner also provides optional topics of instruction to support student learning, which include phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and more.
The genre studies regularly include opportunities to focus on language transfer. The unit overview includes a specific section on the topic, and the daily lesson plans note opportunities to teach transferable and non-transferable skills. For example, the teacher explains similarities, (i.e., transfers between Spanish and English verb forms) by explaining that both Spanish and English have gerund forms of verbs and verb infinitives. The teacher emphasizes a non-transferable skill by teaching students that the letter h is silent at the beginning of words in Spanish. In English, the letter h sounds like a puff of air.
The Spanish “Literature Collection” includes diverse texts that represent world cultures. For example, in Unit 3, students explore the “Essential Question” “¿Cómo nos enriquecen las diferencias?” During the unit’s three genre studies (realistic fiction, expository, and argumentative text) students read multicultural selections: an excerpt from Esperanza renace by Californian author Pam Muñoz Ryan; La cola de Winter, an informational piece by a father-daughter team of authors; and “¿Cuál era el propósito de las cuerdas incas?” a magazine article from Time for Kids. In other units, students read El rey de las octavas, the biography of famous Afro-Cuban violinist Claudio by Cuban author Emma Romeu; the South American folktale La piedra del Zamuro by Venezuelan author Rafael Rivero Oramas; and El código indescifrable, about the Navajo Code Talkers who were instrumental in helping the Allies during World War II. Each anchor text concludes with biographical information about the author and illustrator, representing a wide array of cultural and linguistic diversity.
The instructional materials include an extensive library of “Leveled Readers” available in both English and Spanish, with very diverse characters to which students can relate. There are over 270 leveled reader books for “Approaching Level,” “On Level,” and “Beyond Level” reading groups. The leveled readers align with the genre studies and extend student understanding of instructional concepts and the world. For example, during a unit on historical fiction, students read El fabricante de herramientas, a short chapter book about the Mayan culture that addresses the Essential Question “¿Es útil compartir experiencias para adaptarse a los cambios?” The story is provided for all three levels of readers.
The Spanish language materials for teachers and students are authentic and culturally relevant. The materials are originally written in academic Spanish or are quality transadaptations or translations. The materials support the development of socio-cultural competence and represent the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Spanish language and Hispanic culture.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, the genre study is realistic fiction, and students read Ecos del desierto by Mexican author Silvia Dobovoy. The “Essential Question” is “¿Cómo ayudan las experiencias compartidas a adaptarse a los cambios?” The teacher introduces students to a graphic organizer for plot development that includes “personaje, ambiente, principio, desarrollo, y final.” After reading, students learn about the author’s purpose by reading the short bio about the author and illustrator. The teacher guides the discussion to develop an understanding of the difficulties that undocumented immigrants experience when they enter the United States. The lesson concludes with written response to the prompt “Hacer conexiones: Comenta cómo las experiencias que compartió Miguel con Martín, y con la señora que llevaba al niño, les sirvieron para adaptarse a los cambios que trajo el viaje por el desierto.”
In Unit 2, students read an authentic folktale: La piedra del Zamuro by Rafael Rivero Oramas. At the end of the text, there is a short description of the history of the text and the author. Students learn that Oramas is originally from Venezuela and is one of the most celebrated children’s authors of Latin America. The student anthology states, “En estas divertidas aventuras casi siempre se aprende alguna lección.”
In Unit 3, students read an excerpt from Esperanza renace, a transadapted text authored by Latinx writer Pam Muñoz Ryan. The materials include guiding questions and think-aloud prompts in Spanish for the teacher to follow during the lesson. The academic language is high-quality and appropriate for the context and purpose of the activity. For example, the teacher models with a think-aloud during the anchor text lesson: “Mientras leo el texto, identifico las ideas principales de la relación que tiene Esperanza con Miguel. Así puedo resumir que ellos eran muy buenos amigos de niños, porque jugaban juntos, pero que había una diferencia social entre ellos porque Esperanza era la hija del dueño del rancho, y MIguel, el hijo del capataz.” The student workbook also demonstrates academic Spanish, with prompts and questions such as “Visualizar: ¿La descripción de las mujeres paradas frente a mesas largas y el supervisor, te ayuda a hacerte una ideas del tipo de experiencias por las que iba a pasar Esperanza?” Esperanza renace also supports the development of socio-cultural competence. Through the story of Esperanza, a privileged Mexican girl who flees to California after a family tragedy, students consider the unexpected challenges of life and the need to rise above difficult circumstances. Students reflect on how difficulties shape us and give us new life perspectives. This is evident in the Essential Question, “¿Cómo nos enriquecen las diferencias?” and questions in the student workbook, such as “¿Cómo sabemos lo que siente Esperanza sobre los sucesos que la llevaron a ella y a su madre a California?”
In Unit 4, the teacher and students can explore the multimedia article “Nuestras maravillas,” a supplemental resource offered in each genre study to celebrate the diversity and accomplishments of Spanish-speaking people. The introduction states: “Estas páginas presentan información relacionada con el tema de la semana. Las diferentes secciones proponen resaltar la riqueza de nuestro idioma, la diversidad de nuestra gente y sus culturas.” The students learn about the origins of the word expression and synonyms for words from the unit that are particular to countries. For example, halar is jalar in Peru and cristalino is transparente in Argentina. The page also includes tongue-twisters and the brief bios of the famous Argentinian puppet master Javier Villafañe and the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.
In Unit 5, students read Las ruinas indias by one of Latin America’s greatest writers, José Marté. As students read about Ancient Mexico, the teacher guides discussion about the Essential Question: “¿Es útil compartir experiencias para adaptarse a los cambios?” After reading, the students learn about Martí’s role as a hero of Cuba's fight for independence from Spain in the 1800s. The author’s page also states his purpose for this particular text: “Jose Marti quiso mostrar la grandeza de las culturas de América. ¿Qué palabras y expresiones del texto comunican ese propósito del autor?”
In Unit 6, students develop sociocultural competence and intercultural understanding through the historical fiction text El código indescifrable. In this story, students learn about a group of Native Americans (the Navajo Code Talkers) who helped the US Army during World War II. These brave Navajo men created an unbreakable code that allowed US troops and Allies to move about undetected.
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