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James M.

Caty L.

Curriculum: USTARS ~ PLUS Science & Literature Connections

Transition Area: Science

This textbook was developed to support teachers working to help young children read
content-specific nonfiction. This textbook was specifically designed to inspire children to learn
about science through reading fictional literature.

Format: Textbook

Ustars ~ Plus has 5 major components

1. High-End Learning Opportunities
a. Curriculum differentiation
Curriculum Compacting
Tiered Lessons
Learning centers/stations
Independent studies/group projects
Questioning/higher order thinking skills
b. Dynamic Assessment to inform classroom instruction
c. Flexible grouping
d. Classroom Support Materials:
U-STARS~PLUS Science & Literature Connections
U-STARS~PLUS USTARS~PLUS Family Science Packets
2. Teachers Systematic Observations
a. At-potential versus at-risk mindset
b. Teachers Observation of Potential in Students (TOPS), a teacher tool to
recognize students with outstanding potential from underserved populations
c. Building a body of evidence using informal and formal measures over time
3. Hands-On, Inquiry Based Science
a. Promotes thinking, achievement, and language development
b. Captivates students interest through real-world setting and content integration
c. Focuses on exploration and problem solving not based solely on traditional
expository methods or verbal skills
4. Family & School Partnerships
a. Family involvement programs
b. Effective parent-conferences and communication
c. U-STARS~PLUS USTARS~PLUS Family Science Packets C
understanding (impact of poverty, diversity, and social/emotional needs)
5. Infrastructure Building For Systematic Change

a. Capacity building through professional & policy development

b. Fidelity of implementation (district, school, classroom)
c. Accountability (district, school, classroom, child)

Contact/Ordering Information:
Council for Exceptional Children
2900 Crystal Drive, Suite 1000
Arlington, VA 22202

Learning characteristics of the student for whom this curriculum would be age and learning

U-STARS~PLUS was designed for teaching student in Kindergarten through 3rd grade.
U-STARS~PLUS is designed to help schools address the needs of children with high potential
from educationally vulnerable populations. Educationally vulnerable populations include children
from economically disadvantaged, those from culturally or linguistically diverse families, and
students with disabilities. U-STARS~PLUS is directed by five goals:
1. Provide environments which nurture the intellectual and emotional well-being of young
children (Grades K-3).
2. Recognize children with outstanding potential who may be overlooked due to poverty,
cultural or linguistic differences, and/or disabilities.
3. Engage families in meaningful ways that support their childs academic success.
4. Support the use of high-quality science instruction for children (Grades K-3) as a
platform to recognize and respond to their potential.
5. Respond to childrens strengths by providing appropriately challenging educational

USTARS ~ Plus addressed the following transition needs:

Students will be able to participate in inquiry-based and hands-on science that allows them to
learn about their world through exploration and problem solving.
Students will be able to:
- With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
- Participate in shared research and writing projects.
- Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something
that is not understood.
- With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce writing
and research.
- Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or
concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time,
sequence, and cause/effect.


Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

Recall information from experiences to gather information from print and digital sources;
take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.

Other features of USTARS ~ Plus:

This book contains
A list of major topics that can be explored with the nonfiction book.
Correlation to the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State
A book summary.
A science concept map showing related ideas for study.
A list of thinking questions based on Blooms taxonomy.
A set of follow-up activities for students to extend their learning.