Why Teachers Need More Planning Time

This article discusses “Four Ways State Leaders Can Help Teachers Implement High Quality Curriculum.” One of the author’s suggestions is that leaders provide time and space for educators to plan. One of the reasons educators need more planning time is that online preK-12 materials have become increasingly complex to use. Here’s why.

Learning List reviewers have reviewed thousands of PreK-12 instructional materials. Our team is adept at learning how to navigate through online materials. These days, reviewing online materials is taking longer because materials often consist of different components to remediate, enrich and extend students’ learning.  Sometimes, each component uses a different online platform; more commonly, the assessments component uses a different platform from the material’s instructional components.  Thus, merely learning how to navigate through online materials takes longer than it used to.

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Dear Mom and Dad, Welcome to Your 1st Year of Teaching!

Are you a first-time homeschool teacher or are you proctoring at-home learning while your child is attending school online this semester? Either way, you are likely out of your comfort zone and feeling (a little) overwhelmed. How are you ensuring that your child is learning what he/she is supposed to learn?  This blog post provides a few pointers and accompanying resources to help you keep your child on track during this school year.  

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Selecting Materials to Support Differentiated Instruction

As this school year resumes, teachers are going to need to differentiate and accelerate instruction to ensure that students are ready for their new grade level’s content. Whether you are selecting from your district/campus’ existing materials or purchasing new materials, we offer the following questions to help you identify materials that will support teachers in differentiating instruction to meet the needs of their students.

(1) Do the resources offer differentiated planning support for teachers?
Teachers need resources that will help them differentiate instruction to meet their students’ varied learning needs while simultaneously implementing the district curriculum. Here are three features to look for in teacher materials to support teachers in planning differentiated instruction.

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3 Critical Facts To Help You Get the Most Instructional Value from Your Materials

As you consider using unfamiliar materials, we offer these tips to help you get the most instructional value from your materials: 

  • If a material does not provide a correlation to your state’s standards, it probably was not designed with your state’s standards in mind. Thus, the material likely will not cover all of the content knowledge and skills your standards require students to learn. Using a material without a correlation will cause you more work in planning instruction to ensure that your students have the opportunity to learn everything the standards require. Consider using such resources for engagement or enrichment rather than as the primary resource for the course. 

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New Curriculum Review: Savvas Texas myView Literacy

Learning List recently reviewed Savvas’s Texas myView Literacy, which was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response to the Texas Education Agency’s Proclamation 2019 call for K-8 English language arts and reading (ELAR) products aligned to the new ELAR Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Texas myView Literacy is a comprehensive English language arts and reading product for grades K-5. Content is available in print and digital formats. This review is of online materials only. Instruction is organized using sets of mini-lessons that facilitate flexible instructional planning and a variety of instructional models.

Across grades, myView Literacy is organized in five 6-week units. Each unit addresses a cross-curricular theme focused on an essential question, such as a grade 4 unit titled “Diversity” that integrates social studies topics and asks: “How can we reach new understandings through exploring diversity?” Each unit features a “Spotlight” genre that is the focus of instruction (e.g., informational texts) and includes works from additional genres. Across units, instruction provides a balance of authentic literary and informational texts. Students learn to read different types of content, such as maps, infographics, and timelines. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Savvas’s myPerspectives Texas

Learning List recently reviewed Savvas’s myPerspectives Texas, which was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response to the Texas Education Agency’s Proclamation 2019 call for K-8 English language arts and reading (ELAR) products aligned to the new ELAR Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). myPerspectives Texas is a comprehensive product that supports English language arts instruction in grades 6-12. Learning List reviewed resources for grades 6-8. Content is available in print and online formats and facilitates instruction in blended learning environments.

myPerspectives Texas is a student-centered program that develops close reading skills and students’ ability to communicate effectively in written and spoken formats. At each grade level, content is organized in five 6-week thematic units (e.g., “Facing Adversity”). As its title suggests, myPerspectives explores authors’ points-of-view and helps students develop their own perspectives. Units present a balance of literary and informational texts and a variety of genres from a range of time periods. Readings have diverse authorship and represent protagonists and themes that reflect a variety of experiences, support inclusion, and facilitate understanding. Instruction provides opportunities for students to respond to non-print texts, such as videos, radio plays, and television interviews. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: The Center for the Collaborative Classroom Collaborative Literacy

Learning List recently reviewed The Center for the Collaborative Classroom’s Collaborative Literacy, which was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response to the Texas Education Agency’s Proclamation 2019 call for K-8 English language arts and reading (ELAR) products aligned to the new ELAR Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Collaborative Literacy is a comprehensive reading/language arts product for grades K-5. Resources are available in print and online formats. Instruction emphasizes the social development of upper-elementary students while building reading, writing, and spelling skills.

At each grade level, Collaborative Literacy is made up of three separate resources that, when used together, support 30 weeks of comprehensive instruction in reading and language arts. Each resource is discussed separately below. [Read more…]

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Effective Implementation: A Key to Success

Effective Implementation: A Key to SuccessThe effective implementation of a material is as critical to student success as the material’s alignment to standards. Learning List’s editorial reviews empower districts with information they need to not only to select materials but also to implement materials more effectively. They provide a qualitative analysis of each material’s instructional content and design. They point out the critical components of the product and the value each provides in the instructional process. They highlight the supports available for teachers and point out deficits in the material’s offerings. For example, the editorial reviews explain whether teacher resources include background in content and pedagogy, provide pacing information and/or lesson plans, and offer guidance in differentiating instruction. They explain the professional development opportunities in the material and note when a product contains additional supports for novice teachers, such as comprehensive discussions of the required content knowledge and pedagogy, and detailed lesson plans to support instruction.

Learning List’s alignment reports guide educators in their selection and use of standards-aligned materials. Our editorial reviews help educators understand the intended use and instructional components of each product so they can implement the product effectively. Together, these reviews empower educators to choose and use materials to fuel their students’ success.

A recent example highlighting the use of Learning List’s reviews to effectively implement instructional materials

An assistant superintendent of a subscribing district called to let us know that her high school math teachers believed that our reviews were too generous to a publisher by failing to mention the material’s lack of rigor. They felt the materials did not provide practice exercises to allow students to develop mathematical proficiency.

Rigor is an attribute we review materials for both in our alignment methodology and in the editorial review. After the call, we reviewed the alignment report for each applicable grade level and observed the following:

The materials were aligned to a high percentage of the relevant state standards, meaning that we found at least one aligned citation for the majority of standards in each grade level. [Read more…]

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How Learning List Assists Teachers in Developing and Achieving SLOs

Solid instruction begins with an analysis of student data followed by the development of targeted learning goals and instructional practices aimed at achieving them. Student Learning Objectives/Outcomes (SLOs) are growth targets set by teachers to help them plan instruction and drive learning throughout the year. SLOs provide schools and districts with a way to make best instructional practice a common expectation for all teachers and principals.

Here are five ways Learning List’s reviews and tools support teachers in creating high quality SLOs and achieving them:
Effective Practice
(1) After the focus of an SLO has been identified, Learning List’s alignment reports and alignment comparison tool make it easy for teachers to identify causal connections between students’ learning deficits and deficits in the alignment of the district/campus’ instructional materials.

(2) Learning List’s alignment comparison tool and alignment reports help teachers scaffold instruction using their existing materials to address students’ learning gaps that have persisted over multiple grade levels. [Read more…]

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