This past week, we had a professional development session during which our third grade teachers shared their experience with Benchmark Education. They have been piloting this curriculum throughout the year. Before we commit to the curriculum, it is important to be well informed about this decision and ensure that it will benefit all learners on campus. This week’s post will summarize the information shared by our third grade team and the Benchmark Education representative.
What is Benchmark?
The Benchmark program has six components:
- Whole Group Reading
- Guided Reading
The program includes 10 units that are all CCSS aligned by grade level. Units 1-7 work to introduce and spiral the standards, 8-10 are review lessons. Daily, teachers have access to two reading lessons, guided reading resources, ELD lessons, and one writing lesson.
Third grade shared that they have started incorporating GLAD strategies during their shared reading time. They use input charts to support reading comprehension strategies and to make connections to vocabulary words.
The program is organized by weeks:
- Week 1: concepts and standards are introduced
- Week 2: practice with differentiated texts and resources
- Week 3; apply the skill
Whole Group Reading
The reading section includes ten units that are 50% fiction and 50% nonfiction. The nonfiction expository section alternates between science and social studies. Both digital and consumable resources are provided with the program. All themes are consistent across grade levels which will lend itself to cross grade level collaborative opportunities.
All guided reading resources are leveled, include audio and digital components, DOK questions, and have a readers theater component.
This section is differentiated for all EL levels. It includes a rubric for formative assessments. Scaffolds are included to support students in achieving success in reaching grade level CCSS.
The curriculum includes weekly writing tasks. There is a task for the teacher and for the student. The writing section of Benchmark Education integrates with our current writers workshop model. Examples are included for each grade level, which could be used as mentor texts. Lessons on revising and editing and included as well.
All assessments are pre-made and aligned to CCSS. Weekly quizzes are also included to help teachers provide intervention to students who need additional support.
Mini lessons are included to support students with scaffolded instruction. The extra practice can also be connected to Achieve3000 by assigning readings about similar topics.
The DI section is not a direct translation of the english component. Instead, it works to maintain the meaning of the text while providing students with a grade level appropriate text.
Prior to choosing a curriculum to purchase, we should all take time to hear from others who are using the curriculum, explore the resources, ask questions, and reflect on whether or not this will benefit all students in our school.