Look Into a Crystal Ball: How to Project Your District’s Instructional Materials Allotment Allocation

[Source: Opinion Lab]

[Source: Opinion Lab]

Today, the Texas State Board of Education adopted 89 social studies, 55 high school math and 172 fine arts materials. Learning List has reviewed all of the state-adopted social studies and high school math products that were adopted, as well as several materials in those subjects that were not submitted for state adoption.

The State Board took another less notorious vote today but one that significantly impacts the amount of state funding school districts and charter schools will receive to pay for instructional materials and technology over the next two school years. The Board set the percentage distribution rate from the Permanent School Fund (PSF) to the Available School Fund (ASF) at 3.5 percent for the 2015-2016 fiscal biennium. As a result of that action, approximately $1 billion a year will transferred from the PSF to the ASF and half of that (~$500M) will be set aside in the ASF for the state instructional materials fund (IMF).

[© 2014 Learning List]

[© 2014 Learning List]

Are you wondering how much IMA your district or charter school will receive to purchase new social studies and high school math materials? Learning List’s whitepaper will help you predict approximately how much IMA funding you can reasonably expect to receive in September of each of year of the 2015- 16 biennium. However, as you will read, two important steps have yet to be taken before districts can know with certainty the amount of IMA funding they will have available for each year of the next biennium. You can read or download a copy of How to Project Your District’s Instructional Materials Allotment Allocation by clicking here.

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New Reviews: Nystrom’s StrataLogica Resource

[Source: Nystrom Education]

[Source: Nystrom Education]

Social Studies School Service |Nystrom’s StrataLogica resource is a supplemental, web-based map and atlas program that includes print materials. Resources support core social studies instruction across grades K-12. Learning List recently reviewed StrataLogica’s Early Learning and Readiness Package for grades K-3. The program introduces students to the world using maps and atlases that focus on land, water, continents, oceans, countries, and states. Resources are for use with computers, LCD projectors, and interactive whiteboards.

[Source: Nystrom Education]

[Source: Nystrom Education]

StrataLogica maps are interactive and may be displayed in 2D or 3D formats. Map tools allow users to zoom in and out, pan, and rotate and tilt the image in 3D view. Users may search for specific locations (e.g., Austin, Texas), measure distances, and draw, label, and add symbols and text to maps. A dual map viewer tool allows users to compare different types of maps for the same location (e.g., physical and political maps). Maps are customizable and include premade, editable presentations and projects linked to current events (e.g., Piracy Today), history (e.g., Journey of the Pilgrims), geography skills (e.g., latitude and longitude), and student interests (e.g., Monsters—Real or Hoax?). Maps include “Placemark Pop-ups” with text, videos, and images pinned to specific locations. For example, a presentation about how t-shirts are manufactured includes a placemark pinned to Lubbock, Texas, that displays a short YouTube video about the cotton industry there. Teachers may create their own Pop-Ups with text and uploaded videos and images. Pop-ups may be turned on or off.

Atlases and charts are accompanied by activities with lesson plans that provide step-by-step guidance for instruction, discussion questions, and links to other subject areas and related children’s literature. Lessons include hands-on activities and downloadable activity sheets (i.e., PDFs). Atlases for grades 1-3 are available in print and eBook formats and have age-appropriate informational text, vivid illustrations and photographs, glossaries, and abbreviation keys (e.g., TX, St., S). Outline maps are customizable and may be downloaded as PDFs for classroom use.

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Social Studies School Service’s Active Classroom

[Source: Social Studies School Service]

[Source: Social Studies School Service]

Social Studies School Service’s Active Classroom series is a set of comprehensive digital resources to support social studies instruction at the middle school and high school levels. Courses focus on developing literacy skills in the context of social studies instruction.

[Source: Social Studies]

[Source: Social Studies School Service]

Content is organized in “Activity Sets” that address key concepts (e.g., Ratification of the U.S. Constitution) and can be implemented in about a week. Activity Sets include diverse sets of learning experiences related to content, including reading passages, web-based lessons, video and audio segments, maps and images for analysis, and hands-on projects, or “simulations.” Reading passages are provided at different Lexile-based complexity levels and web-based lessons require that students use online resources to analyze primary source documents and conduct research on topics. Videos illustrate key concepts and are followed by questions that require students to think critically about what they have viewed. Simulations present multi-day, creative projects related to content. Many simulations are provided by Interact, a division of Social Studies School Service, and include comprehensive lesson plans and teaching resources.

Student materials are organized to support comprehension. Reading passages begin by clarifying learning objectives and defining key vocabulary. Content is presented in short blocks of text with frequent checks for understanding and tips to support students’ retention of content. Student texts include “Think About It” questions that addresses critical thinking skills and an “In Real Life” feature connects content to students’ experiences. Some passages include activities to reinforce and extend learning and most passages conclude with a short quiz.

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