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Two Educators Who Changed My Life

I am forever indebted to my third grade teacher, Mrs. Adams, and principal, Dr. Woodward at Spring Creek Elementary School in Richardson, Texas. The compassion and empathy these women exhibited changed the course of my life.

My family moved to the United States when I was eight years old.  Though I spoke English, it felt like a different language than “American” (and particular “Texan”).  I had an accent which my new classmates had difficulty understanding.  I used different words to describe things which my classmates ridiculed.  And, I spelled words differently which lead me repeatedly to fail spelling tests. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Mentoring Minds Total Motivation Reading

Mentoring Minds' Total Motivation Reading

Mentoring Minds’ Total Motivation Reading is a supplemental product that supports targeted remediation and preparation for Texas’ STAAR English language arts (ELA) exams in grades 6-8. Resources are available in print and online formats. Content is organized using a clear structure that focuses on active reading strategies, critical thinking skills, and practice assessments. Instruction supports Response to Intervention programs as well as test preparation. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Zulama AP Computer Science Principles

Zulama's AP Computer Science PrinciplesLearning List has reviewed Zulama’s AP Computer Science Principles. This comprehensive product supports instruction in Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles courses. Content is fully online and includes printable resources. Instruction develops students’ understanding of computer science and coding skills through the lens of game design. The course requires the installation of GameMaker Studio 2 software; GameMaker Studio 2 requires a Windows operating system. [Read more…]

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Computer Thinking: Part One

A recent article in the New York Times describes the increased enrollment in computer science courses at the university level, and highlights how primary education has addressed the importance of abstract thinking and computer programming skills for students in grades K-12.

The article explains how the College Board reshaped its Advanced Placement (AP) computer science course to more closely reflect trends at the college level. In addition to the popular AP Computer Science A course, which teaches the Java programming language, the College Board has introduced the broader AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) that allows teachers to use any programming language and focuses on transferrable skills, such as data analysis and problem solving.

As part of our partnership with the College Board, Learning List has reviewed each of the products on the College Board’s 2017 “Example Textbook List” and several of the “Endorsed Courses” for CSP.  We reviewed each product’s alignment to the College Board’s course framework for AP CSP and conducted a review of each product’s instructional content. A brief overview of each material or course is provided below. 

Cengage's Invitation to Computer ScienceCengage Learning’s Invitation to Computer Science is a survey of the fundamental concepts of computer science, including social and ethical issues. Instruction progresses sequentially through six “Levels.” Concepts build upon one another and increase in complexity.  An accompanying Laboratory Manual provides 20 lab activities that complement instruction and clarify concepts presented across Levels 1-5.

 Cengage's New Perspectives on Computer ConceptsCengage Learning’s New Perspectives on Computer Concepts 2016, Comprehensive, begins with an introduction, “The Digital Revolution,” that provides the history of digital technology and its role in social, political, and economic change. Subsequent instruction is presented in 11 units that address digital content, digital devices, networks, the Web, social media, software, digital security, the ICT industry, information systems, databases, and programming.

 CodeHS's AP Computer Science PrinciplesCodeHS’s AP Computer Science Principles covers the fundamentals of computer science and supports instruction in blended learning environments. Students have access to an interactive “JavaScript Library” that explains coding language, including parameters, and provides examples. “Challenge” problems extend students’ learning and the CodeHS “Sandbox” enables students to explore concepts that interest them.

UMBC's CS Matters (AP)CS Matters in Maryland is an open educational resource (OER); resources are available at no cost at www.csmatters.org. Students learn about internet data; processes for managing, analyzing, and interpreting data; and the use of data to solve real world problems. The course uses the Python programming language; Python 3.4 and PyCharm Community Edition IDE software may be installed at no cost.

harvard_cs_blog_imageHarvard University’s CS50 AP introduces students to the basics of computer science and computer programming languages. Students use their learning to solve real-world problems that are relevant to them. CS50 AP content is video-based and facilitates student self-study and instruction in flipped learning environments. Most CS50 AP resources are available at no cost at https://ap.cs50.net.

Mobile CSPMobile CSP is a project-based online course that teaches the principles of computer science using MIT’s “App Inventor” visual block language for Android devices. Students create “socially useful” apps that address problems they have identified in their schools or communities.

zulama blogZulama’s AP Computer Science Principles is an online course that develops students’ understanding of computer science and coding skills through the lens of game design. Instruction requires the installation of GameMaker Studio 2 software, which requires a Windows operating system. Instruction asks students to create new games and build a digital portfolio of their creative work.

This table shows the range in the degree to which each course or material aligns to the CSP course framework Learning List’s alignment reports show which standards each material is/is not aligned to and specific citations in each material that have been verified to be aligned to each standard.

Alignment LO

In addition to reviewing computer science courses aligned to the College Board’s CSP course framework, Learning List has also reviewed of each of the state-adopted materials that support career and technical education (CTE) Information Technology courses, including computer programming and digital media products. Visit our blog next week for Computer Thinking: Part Two, in which we discuss CTE computer science products.

Subscribe to Learning List for access to the spec sheet, full editorial review and alignment reports for these materials and thousands of other widely used PreK-12 resources.

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New Product Review: Pearson ReadyGEN

Pearson's ReadyGENLearning List has reviewed online resources for Pearson’s ReadyGEN.  This comprehensive product supports literacy instruction in grades K-6. Content is available in print and online formats and supports instruction in blended learning environments. Instruction is inquiry-based and focuses on developing independent readers and writers with strong reading and listening comprehension, vocabulary, and writing skills.

Across grade levels, ReadyGEN content is organized in thematic units (e.g., “Finding Courage”), modules, and lessons. Each module is built around an anchor text, a set of “Text Collection” supporting texts, and “Sleuth” close reading selections. Instruction uses theme-related literary and informational texts that present diverse characters and themes that support tolerance and understanding of differences. “Sleuth” is a structured approach to developing close reading skills.

Each module includes writing workshops focused on a particular type of writing (e.g., opinion, narrative). Workshops provide direct instruction in the writing process, opportunities for independent writing, and a “Shared Writing” activity in which students share their work with the class. Daily lessons also include “Reader’s and Writer’s Journal” activities in which students practice new vocabulary, close reading, and writing skills.

About Pearson*

Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Pearson’s mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning.

Bringing digital learning to school children worldwide, Pearson is helping to transform education with full-time online and blended schools, online courses, technology, and host of support services. With a focus on successful student outcomes, these programs deliver high-quality, highly personalized, and flexible learning experiences — students are able to complete schoolwork when and where they learn best, 24/7.

Information in this section is provided by or adapted from Pearson.

 

Subscribe to Learning List for access to the spec sheet, full editorial review and detailed alignment report for this material, and thousands of other widely used Pk-12 resources.

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New Product Review: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Journeys

HMH's JourneysLearning List has reviewed Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Journeys, which is a comprehensive product that supports language arts and reading instruction in grades K-6. Content is available in print and online formats and facilitates instruction in blended learning environments. Journeys provides systematic and explicit instruction in key literacy skills at each grade level. Instruction focuses on vocabulary development, the close reading of complex texts, and using textual evidence to support conclusions.

Across grades, Journeys presents instruction using a consistent structure that incorporates predictable routines (e.g., think-pair-share). At grades K-2, content focuses on the needs of developing readers and emphasizes the development of phonemic awareness and phonics, reading, writing, and speaking skills. At grades 3-6, content builds systematically increasing students’ skills and introducing increasingly complex texts. Reading selections emphasize diverse cultures and perspectives, as well as themes that support inclusion.

Each lesson includes two, age-appropriate anchor texts that reflect the unit’s theme. Anchor texts are a balance of literary and informational texts. Instruction focuses on close reading skills and includes teacher-led whole group and small group activities. Each unit includes grammar and writing practice activities and a “Compare Texts” feature that helps students connect what they have read to themselves, other texts, and the real-world. Units at each grade level end with a performance-based project that emphasizes communication skills.

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt*

HMH creates engaging, dynamic and effective educational content and experiences from early childhood to K-12 and beyond the classroom, serving more than 50 million students in more than 150 countries. Available through multiple media, our content meets the needs of students, teachers, parents and lifelong learners, no matter where and how they learn.

HMH’s renowned and awarded children’s books, novels, nonfiction, and reference titles are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. Our distinguished author list, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Philip Roth, and brands from Curious George to The Lord of the Rings, includes 10 Nobel Prize winners, 48 Pulitzer Prize winners, 15 National Book Award winners, and more than 100 Caldecott, Newbery, Printz and Sibert Medal and Honor recipients.

Information in this section is provided by or adapted from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

 

Subscribe to Learning List for access to the spec sheet, full editorial review and detailed alignment report for this material, and thousands of other widely used Pk-12 resources.

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