K-5 Spanish-language Handwriting Product Reviews

hand holding pencil

Learning List has reviewed each of the handwriting products, including three Spanish-language products, submitted to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in response to the Proclamation 2019.

Below are brief discussions of each Spanish-language handwriting product. Learning List has also reviewed the English-language version of each product. [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 Review: Savvas’s myPerspectives Texas

myPerspectives

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: McGraw Hill Texas Wonders

Texas Wonders

Learning List recently reviewed McGraw Hill’s Texas Wonders, 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 Wonders is a comprehensive reading and language arts program for students in grades K-5. Materials are available in print and digital formats. At each grade level, instruction incorporates a balance of literary and informational texts to build close reading, analytic writing, and speaking and listening skills. Wonders also emphasizes the development of social and emotional learning. 

Across grades, Wonders is structured to “Teach the Whole Child.” Instruction emphasizes the habits of learning (e.g., thinking critically, solving problems), social and emotional skills, and a positive classroom culture. At each grade level, Texas Wonders student resources include a “Reading/Writing Companion” and a “Practice Book.” The Reading/Writing Companion is at the center of instruction. The Companion addresses close reading skills, collaborative conversations, analytic writing, and foundational skills (e.g., phonics). Instruction focuses on the reading and rereading of authentic literary and informational texts for specific purposes, and the use of textual evidence to support conclusions and opinions in spoken and written communication. Students learn to discuss what they read and to produce written products that use textual evidence to support a particular view or response. [Read more…

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New Product Review: Istation

Istation

Learning List recently reviewed Istation, 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) and Spanish language arts (SLAR) products aligned to the new ELAR and SLAR Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Istation is a supplemental reading and writing program for grades PK-8. Content is available in English and Spanish. Instruction is presented digitally and includes printable resources. The adaptive program identifies and addresses gaps in student learning and supports intervention at each Response to Intervention (RtI) tier. Across grades, the program develops vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and word analysis skills.

Istation provides personalized, adaptive instruction in specific reading skills. Students complete the “Istation Indicator of Progress” (ISIP) at the beginning of the year and each month thereafter. Animated characters provide directions for ISIP tasks and examples of how to enter responses. ISIP is available in English and Spanish.  Based on ISIP results, the program prescribes specific learning activities and the usage time needed to address individual student learning gaps. As students move along individualized learning paths, instruction adapts, providing more or less challenging content based on student progress. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: StrongMind Middle School

StrongMind

Learning List recently reviewed StrongMind, 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). StrongMind provides online “courseware” that supports instruction in the core subject areas and some electives (e.g., art history, career and technology courses) in middle school and high school grades. Instruction is designed for self-paced and credit-recovery programs and blended learning environments. Learning List reviewed English language arts resources for Texas middle school students.

At each grade level, StrongMind’s Texas middle school content is organized in two semester-long courses.  Each semester is made up of six units that are loosely organized around a theme. For example, a grade 7 unit titled “Putting It In Order” includes lessons addressing informational texts, such as chapters from Helen Keller’s “The Story of My Life,” and writing an informational essay. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: ThinkCERCA

ThinkCERCA logoLearning List recently reviewed ThinkCERCA, 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). ThinkCERCA is an online learning platform that helps students in grades 3-12 develop literacy and critical thinking skills across the core subject areas. Instruction focuses on developing close reading and academic writing skills. ThinkCERCA’s Texas Edition addresses the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for English language arts/reading (ELAR) and supports instruction in blended learning environments. Learning List reviewed materials for grades 6-8.

ThinkCERCA focuses on developing students’ ability to read texts and produce written responses using the CERCA framework: (1) make Claims, (2) support claims with textual Evidence, (3) explain their Reasoning, (4) recognize Counterarguments, and (5) use language that appeals to a particular Audience. Core instruction is presented in modular “CERCA Sets” that cover content from across the core subject areas (i.e., English/language arts, science, mathematics, and social studies). Many CERCA Sets are not grade specific. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Learning A-Z Raz-Plus ELL Edition

Colored Pencils

Learning List recently reviewed Learning A-Z’s Raz-Plus ELL Edition, 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). Raz-Plus ELL Edition is a supplemental program that supports reading instruction in grades K-5 with instructional materials designed specifically for English language learners (ELLs). Resources are available online and may be downloaded and printed and/or displayed using classroom projection devices. Instruction focuses on developing proficient readers using cross-curricular texts that match students’ individual reading levels.

Raz-Plus content is organized in 29 reading levels (i.e., aa to Z2) that gradually increase in difficulty. Levels are identified using Learning A-Z’s proprietary “Text Leveling System.” This system considers qualitative indicators (e.g., author’s purpose), quantitative measures (e.g., word count), and reader and task considerations (e.g., student interest and skill) to provide a rounded measure of text complexity. Learning A-Z provides a “Level Correlation Chart” aligning its complexity levels with other widely used measures (e.g., Lexiles, Fountas & Pinnell). Learning A-Z’s text complexity levels are not grade specific, levels; however, they may be matched to grade levels. For example, in terms of Lexiles, texts Q-Z2 range from 651L to 1,140L and support instruction across grades 3-5.  [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Perfection Learning Connections

Perfection Learning Connections

Learning List recently reviewed Perfection Learning’s Connections, 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). Connections is a comprehensive product that supports ELAR instruction in grades 6-12. Content is available in print and digital formats. Learning List’s review is of resources for grades 6-8.

At each middle school grade level, Connections is organized in four units that address cross-curricular themes and center on an Essential Question. For example, the fourth unit at grade 7 considers the following Essential Question: “What does history teach us about ourselves?” Units include literary and informational texts related to the theme. Lexile levels for each selection are provided in teacher editions.  [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Goodheart-Willcox Foundations of Financial Literacy

Goodheart Finances

Learning List recently reviewed the Goodheart-Willcox Company’s Foundations of Financial Literacy, 10th 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 of Financial Literacy is available in print and eBook formats and include additional online components. Instruction focuses on developing competent consumers by introducing students to concepts in personal finance.

Foundations of Financial Literacy presents content in six units titled: (1) Financial Literacy, (2) Protecting Your Finances, (3) Managing Your Spending, (4) Purchasing and Protecting Your Assets, (5) Exploring Economics, and (6) Preparing for Your Career. Units open with a short explanation of “Why It [content] Matters” and a list of chapter titles. [Read more…]

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