Posts made in February, 2018

The Role of Instructional Materials in Shaping Teacher Practice

In a recent op-ed appearing in The Hill, ThinkCerca’s founder and CEO, Eileen Murphy Buckley, describes the challenges she faced as a novice English teacher working at  Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, one of Illinois’ best high schools and Michelle Obama’s alma mater. Like many first-year teachers, she struggled with classroom management, planning relevant and engaging instruction, and mastery of her content area. She received sage advice from veteran colleagues, but she “confesses” that her strongest supports as an inexperienced teacher were the instructional materials she used in the classroom.

She writes:

So, there is my confession after all these years, but I make it to say that the products we use in schools matter. The quality of those resources matter so very much because they are what empower students, regardless of which teacher they end up with. The materials shape teachers and teacher practice, and they shape the teachers they raise through years of side by side work.

These products must answer to students and teachers as well as buyers — the admins and school boards who are the stewards of our future, our culture, our democracy. Products have material impact on the lives of our children and grandchildren — who will be caring for us and our country in the very near future.

Simply put, reading materials impact the quality of teaching in much more significant ways than you might know.

At Learning List, we understand the importance of high quality materials. We recognize that instructional materials influence how teachers teach as well as how and what students learn. And this understanding shapes how we review products.

Our editorial reviews examine the supports each material does or does not provide for teachers. Our reviewers explain whether teacher resources include background in content and pedagogy; provide pacing information, lesson plans, and guidance in differentiating instruction; and offer professional development opportunities and professional communities that facilitate collaboration and sharing with other teachers who use the same product. Our reviewers note when they feel a product is particularly appropriate for novice teachers. Such products include comprehensive discussions of the required content knowledge and pedagogy, and offer detailed, often scripted, lesson plans to support instruction. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: GameSalad

GameSaladGameSalad is a supplemental computer science program that supports instruction in grades PK-12. Content is available online and includes printable resources, such as lesson plans, worksheets, and quizzes. Instruction is project based and introduces students to concepts in programming and game design without the need to learn programming languages and coding skills. Learning List recently reviewed resources for grades 3-8. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: NICERC Computer Science

NICERC Computer Science (AP)

Learning List has reviewed the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center’s (NICERC) Computer Science course. This is a comprehensive product that supports instruction in Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles courses. Content is available online and is comprised of printable PDF materials. Online content is not interactive. Instruction is project based and emphasizes the development of problem-solving and critical thinking skills in the context of computer science.[Read more…]

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New Product Review: Benchmark Education STAAR Reading Practice

Benchmark's STAAR Reading PracticeLearning List has reviewed Benchmark Education’s STAAR Reading Practice. This test preparation product helps Texas students in grades 2-6 prepare for STAAR Reading exams. Content is available in print format. Instruction focuses on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) Readiness and Supporting Standards at each grade level and helping students build test-taking skills. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: W. W. Norton America: A Narrative History

W.W. Norton's America: A Narrative HistoryLearning List has reviewed Norton’s America: A Narrative History, Tenth Edition. This comprehensive product supports instruction in Advanced Placement (AP) United States History courses. Content is available in print and digital formats. Instruction focuses on how political and economic developments have shaped the nation, with analyses of how these developments informed social change and discussions of key individuals and events. [Read more…]

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