Trends in High School ELA Materials for Proclamation 2020

Books

Learning List recently completed reviews of all materials submitted for state adoption under Proclamation 2020 for the following courses:  English I-IV, Practical Writing, Reading, Journalism, English Learner Language Arts (ELLA), and College Readiness and Study Skills (CRSS). Learning List prioritized courses to review based on overall state enrollment in the courses covered by the Proclamation.

We reviewed materials from eleven publishers for English I-IV, two publishers each for Journalism, College Readiness and Study Skills, and Practical Writing Skills, and one publisher each for Reading and ELLA (middle school). All reviews will be published on the Learning List website between September 16th and September 27th.

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New Product Review: Heinemann Units of Study for Teaching Reading

Heinemann Units of Study

Learning List has reviewed Heinemann’s Units of Study for Teaching Reading, which is a supplemental reading product for students in grades K-5. The program is primarily a curriculum framework for teachers and is made up of a set of print and online teaching resources. Reading instruction is provided using a workshop model that focuses on creating avid readers who are able to access and understand increasingly complex texts. Teaching Reading dovetails with Heinemann’s Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing for grades K-5. Learning List has reviewed the Units of Study writing program.

Based on the work of Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University, Units of Study incorporates a workshop approach to teaching reading skills. At each grade level, content is organized in four units that last between four and five weeks. Grades K-2 include a foundational unit as well as three units that address reading fictional and informational texts. Instruction at grades 3-5 is organized in two reading fiction units and two reading informational texts units.

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New Product Review: Matific Math Learning Platform

Matific Logo

Learning List has reviewed Matific Math Learning Platform, which is a supplemental online product that supports mathematics instruction in grades K-6. Content addresses a variety of standards, including the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and the Common Core State Standards. Instruction is presented in adaptive “episodes” (i.e., learning games) that help students discover mathematics concepts independently.

At each grade level, Matific presents instruction in interactive games and simulations. Each activity is linked to a grade and concept (e.g., grade 3, division), as well as a variety of learning standards. Teachers may select the relevant standards (e.g., TEKS) using a drop-down menu. Most activities include guidance for students in how to complete learning tasks. When guidance is text-based, an audio reader is provided. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Corwin Press Puzzle Piece Phonics

Corwin Press

Learning List has reviewed Corwin Press’ Puzzle Piece Phonics (PPP), which is a supplemental product that supports word study in grades K-2. Content is available in print format. Across grades, the program provides systematic and explicit instruction in spelling and phonics patterns. Instruction incorporates puzzle piece manipulatives that help students recognize sound and spelling patterns and their connections to word structure.

PPP’s core content is organized in units, or “Concepts.” Each Concept is broken into instructional weeks that include a weekly focus. Content follows a logical sequence that builds on similarities in concepts and patterns. The pacing of instruction is deliberately measured to ensure that students have adequate time to master patterns before moving on to the next concept. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Ramsey Education Foundations in Personal Finance: High School Edition

The Lampo Group Ramsey

Learning List recently reviewed Ramsey Education’s Foundations in Personal Finance: High School Edition, which was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response to the Texas Education Agency’s Proclamation 2019 call for high school Personal Financial Literacy products aligned to the new PFL Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Foundations in Personal Finance: High School Edition is a comprehensive resource to support instruction in Texas high school PFL courses. Content is available in print and online formats. The program integrates videos featuring financial experts with text-based content. Instruction addresses avoiding debt, budgeting effectively, investing, and giving.

Foundations in Personal Finance includes a direct instruction videos in which a financial expert explains some aspect of personal finance (e.g., “Basic Rules of Investing”). Most videos are developed specifically for the course, and some feature the authors speaking to an audience of students about the importance of money management. Print-based resources roughly correspond to Ramsey Education’s Foundations in Personal Finance online course (i.e., the two versions are not identical), and both versions incorporate videos. The print version includes a student workbook that accompanies the videos. The workbook cues students when to watch the video and includes pages with fill-in-the blank sentences that students complete while they watch. After the video, students respond to content in prompts for short journal entries (e.g., “If you were giving advice to a friend, what would you say are the most important things to know about investing?”).  [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Texas

Zaner Bloser Spelling Connections

Learning List recently reviewed Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Texas, which was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response 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), including the spelling TEKS. Spelling Connections Texas is a comprehensive spelling product for students in grades 1-6. Content is available in print and digital formats. Instruction focuses on grade-appropriate word lists that incorporate the words students encounter most when reading, writing, and speaking, as well as frequently misspelled words. Lessons focus on recognizing spelling patterns and applying patterns to increasingly challenging words.

At each grade level, Spelling Connections is organized in weekly units that are made up of daily lessons that are designed to be implemented in 15-minute periods. Across grades, instruction incorporates sorting activities that help students recognize and understand the similarities and differences in how words are spelled. Word sorts may be completed using Zaner-Bloser’s spelling cards or using online resources. Sorting may be implemented in a variety of formats, including teacher-led activities, partners, or individual student work. Lessons connect spelling to phonics (grades 1-3) or vocabulary (grades 4-6), reading, and writing. [Read more…]

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New Product Reviews: B.E. Publishing Personal Financial Literacy Products

B.E. Publishing

Learning List recently reviewed B.E. Publishing’s Personal Financial Literacy and GoVenture. Both products were submitted for state adoption in Texas in response to the Texas Education Agency’s Proclamation 2019 call for high school Personal Financial Literacy products aligned to the new PFL Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Personal Financial Literacy is a comprehensive resource that focuses on the skills students need to set goals and manage their work and personal financial lives. GoVenture is an interactive simulation game in which students set life goals, make decisions (e.g., purchasing a home), and experience the effects of decisions (e.g., good or poor credit ratings). GoVenture may be used as a supplement to another core PFL program or as a comprehensive resource for PFL courses that require 110 hours of instruction.

Personal Financial Literacy is organized in six units: (1) Plan, (2) Earn, (3) Manage, (4) Save & Spend, (5) Invest, and (6) Protect. Instruction emphasizes the importance of goal setting and the SMART goal framework; that is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-focused, and Time-based. Course resources address Precision Exams’ standards for certification in General Financial Literacy and Personal Financial Management; Learning List has not verified alignment to these standards. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: EduSpark Lengua, Ritmo y Cultura

Eduspark SLAR

EduSpark’s Lengua, Ritmo y Cultura is a Spanish language arts and reading (SLAR) program developed specifically for Texas students in grades K-5. Content is organized in print and online materials. Instruction supports the development of Spanish-language skills in dual language programs. Resources are designed to provide age-appropriate instruction in Spanish for students whose first language is not Spanish. Lengua, Ritmo y Cultura incorporates authentic reading selections from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries, as well as works written specifically for the program by Texans of Latino ancestry.

At each grade level, Lengua, Ritmo y Cultura is organized in kits that include print student materials (i.e., textbooks and workbooks), digital lesson resources, and a Teacher Guide. Student textbooks at each grade level are made up of 36 lessons. At grade K-2, textbooks are organized in 12 units made up of three lessons each and textbooks at grades 3-5 are comprised of 9 units made up of four lessons each. Across grades, the first lesson in each unit addresses foundational language skills (e.g., pronunciation). Lesson 2 covers phonological awareness (grades K-2), phonics, spelling, and vocabulary (grades 3-5). Lesson 3 focuses on reading comprehension skills using multiple genres of authentic Spanish texts, and Lesson 4 for grades 3-5 addresses writing skills. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Decker & Associates Real Life Personal Finance

Decker and Associates Finance

Learning List recently reviewed Decker & Associates’ Real Life Personal Finance (RLPF), which was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response to the Texas Education Agency’s Proclamation 2019 call for high school Personal Financial Literacy products aligned to the new PFL Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). RLPF is a comprehensive resource that supports instruction in Texas high school Personal Financial Literacy courses. Content is available online. Resources support independent study and are appropriate for students in self-paced and credit recovery learning environments. Instruction emphasizes the importance of post-secondary education in achieving career goals.

RLPF is aspirational in tone. Instruction asks a student to consider the lifestyle they would like in the future, the earnings needed to support that lifestyle, and how current decisions may affect their ability to achieve their goals. Instruction helps students identify career interests and addresses the importance of post-secondary education in pursuing career choices. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Cengage Learning Managing Your Personal Finances

Cengage Finance

Learning List recently reviewed Cengage Learning’s Managing Your Personal Finances, which was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response to the Texas Education Agency’s Proclamation 2019 call for high school Personal Financial Literacy products aligned to the new PFL Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Managing Your Personal Finances is a comprehensive resource to support instruction in Personal Financial Literacy courses. Materials are available in print format and include additional online components. Learning List’s review is of print resources only. Instruction addresses personal money management, career and retirement planning, saving and investment, and credit management.

Managing Your Personal Finances is organized in six units that address: (1) Managing Careers and Income, (2) Managing Credit, (3) Managing Resources, (4) Providing Financial Security, (5) Risk Management, and (6) Consumer Rights and Responsibilities. Units open with a short overview of each chapter’s content and a related “Net Link” that links students to related content on the text’s companion website. [Read more…]

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