New Product Review: StrongMind Middle School

New Product Review: StrongMind Middle School

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

New Product Review: ThinkCERCA

Learning 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 a supplementary 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: The Center for the Collaborative Classroom Collaborative Literacy

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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