New Reviews: Discovery Education’s Social Studies

[Source: Discovery]

[Source: Discovery Education]

Discovery Education’s Social Studies Techbooks are comprehensive, web-based social studies courses for middle school and high school students. Courses include World Geography and Cultures and United States History (Prehistory to Reconstruction) at the middle school level and United States History (Civil War to Present) at the high school level. Each course includes high-quality and engaging content provided by the Discovery Channel and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. Course resources support instruction in flipped classrooms and blended learning environments.

Discovery Education's Social Studies Video Overview [Source: Discovery]

Discovery Education’s Social Studies Video Overview [Source: Discovery Education]

Each course is inquiry-based and emphasizes the development of critical thinking and literacy skills, particularly skills in reading informational texts. Lessons focus on answering “essential questions” and are organized using the 5E Instructional Model (i.e., Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate). Core content is presented in Core Interactive Text (CIT) that includes photographs, illustrations, and multimedia features, such as interactive maps and embedded videos. Each CIT ends with discussion questions and checks for understanding. CITs, which may be printed, are available in Spanish and in two Lexile-based reading levels for students at or below grade-level. A brief video overview is available here.

Elaborate activities require that students use social studies and critical thinking skills to develop products, such an argument for a debate, a presentation to Congress, or an analysis of a primary source document. Some Elaborate activities are presented in slide shows in which students investigate concepts using interactive tools (e.g., maps, timelines). Activities include printable guides for both teachers and students.

Discovery Education’s “Board Builder” tool encourages students to take ownership of learning through the process of creating and sharing their own content. Using the Board Builder platform, students can create personalized “boards” that incorporate their own text, videos, and photos, as well as editable video and audio files from Discovery Education. Once approved by teachers, student boards may be shared with classmates or the larger community of Discovery Education users. Other resources include “Global Wrap” video summaries of the week’s most important new stories and an interactive atlas that displays a variety of data (e.g., population density, landforms) at the regional or global levels.

Teacher resources for each lesson include links to relevant standards, learning objectives, and “Model Lessons.” Model lessons map a multi-day, 5E lesson cycle with suggested pacing and provide step-by-step guidance in implementing each activity. A companion teacher guide for the course is available in print format. Discovery Education’s Teacher Center provides additional resources, including interactive investigations, graphic organizers, outline maps, and additional video clips to support instruction.

About Discovery Education: “Discovery Education offers a breadth and depth of digital media content that is immersive, engaging and brings the world into the classroom to give every student a chance to experience fascinating people, places, and events. All content is aligned to state standards, can be aligned to custom curriculum, and supports classroom instruction regardless of the technology platform.” [Source: Discovery Education]

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New Reviews: Pearson Texas Social Studies Series

Pearson Texas Social Studies Series [Source: Pearson]

Pearson Texas Social Studies Series Video [Source: Pearson]

Pearson Education’s Texas Social Studies Series provides comprehensive middle school and high school social studies courses in print and digital formats.  Courses support instruction in blended learning and flipped classroom environments and include U.S. History, World History, Economics, and U.S. Government at the high school level and Contemporary World Cultures, Texas History, and U.S. History at the middle school level.  Instruction in each course uses storytelling and project-based learning to engage students in social studies and to make content relevant. Click here for a video overview.

Content is structured using a four-part model: (1) Connect, (2) Investigate, (3) Synthesize and (4) Demonstrate. “Connect” is a start-up activity focused on engaging students in learning. Core instruction is provide in “Investigate” activities that include narrative text, videos, and interactive maps and learning tools. “Synthesize” activities allow students to apply what they have learned. “Demonstrate” includes tests that provide customized remediation or enrichment and performance-based assessments.

Click Picture for a Pearson Demo [Source: Pearson]

Click Picture for a Pearson Demo [Source: Pearson]

Courses include “My Story” videos provided by NBC Learn. My Story videos focus on the lives and experiences of individuals who lived in a particular historical period or geographic region.  Other course resources include “Flipped Videos,” “Interactive Reading Notepads” and “Interactive Primary Source Documents.” Flipped Videos may be used to flip instruction, provide remediation, or to support students who have been absent. The Interactive Reading Notepad identifies new vocabulary, clarifies learning objectives and provides comprehension questions to support the close reading of informational texts. The Primary Source Document resource includes interactive tools and prompts to help all students understand and analyze primary source materials.

Teacher resources include comprehensive lesson plans with overviews of all print and online instructional materials. Lesson plans provide step-by-step guidance in implementing activities with students and point-of-use TEKS and ELPS, differentiation strategies, and professional development videos. Click here for a Pearson demo.

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New Reviews: CORD Communications “Learning in Context” Math Series

[Source: CORD Communications]

[Source: CORD Communications]

CORD Communications’ “Learning in Context” program for high school math instruction provides courses for Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II in print and digital formats. Across courses, instruction focuses on providing the real-world context for learning mathematics and supporting students’ retention of content.

[Source: CORD Communications]

[Source: CORD Communications]

Each course relies on the “Contextual Learning” instructional model which is built around five strategies abbreviated in the acronym REACT:

  • Relating. Connect content to what students have previously learned
  • Experiencing. Teacher-led instruction and hands-on learning experiences
  • Applying. Solve real-world problems
  • Cooperating. Collaborative learning activities
  • Transferring. Application of skills to new situations and contexts

Courses highlight the application of mathematics in STEM-based careers and include a feature titled “Why should I learn this?” that explains how math is used the workplace (e.g., Opticians use real numbers to classify the curvature of optical lenses).  Instruction includes “Math Application” activities that present multi-step, workplace-related problems. Courses also include lab activities in which students solve hands-on problems using graphing calculators and critical thinking skills.

Teacher editions include pacing guides for blocks of 50-minute periods, strategies for implementing the REACT model, and guidance for in-class assignments and homework. Point-of-use resources include teaching notes, answer keys, and references to related content in ancillary materials.

[Source: CORD Communications]

[Source: CORD Communications]

About CORD: CORD Communications serves the educational market by providing quality products and services designed to improve student achievement by integrating active learning into academic and career and technology classrooms. CORD Communications strives to empower educators to implement contextual learning in the classroom. CORD Communications is affiliated with CORD, the leading educational change agency, and accomplishes its purpose by marketing and disseminating programs developed by CORD and others [Source: CORD Communications].

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