Effective Practice

Helping Kids Learn to Write

A recent New York Times article titled Why Kids Can’t Write explores the reasons behind U.S. students’ poor writing skills.  The article asserts that the root of writing problems lies with teachers, most of whom have not been trained in how to teach writing, and who are not confident writers themselves. The article goes on to cite specific efforts, such as the National Writing Project and The Writing Revolution, that are focused on training educators how to teach writing skills, as well as the research on effective writing instruction, which suggests a few concrete strategies. For example, students should learn to transcribe by hand and using a computer. Instruction should teach students to write strong sentences before introducing paragraphs. Students benefit when writing instruction integrates grammar, includes models of good writing, and provides frequent feedback about the students’ own writing.

At Learning List, we believe that high-quality, standards-aligned instructional materials, including writing materials, are critical to teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom. In our work this summer, we have reviewed several supplemental products that focus on teaching writing skills and preparing Texas students for the grade 4 STAAR Writing test. These products use different approaches, but each strives to improve students’ writing skills: [Read more…]

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5 Ways Learning List’s Alignment Reports Can Inform Your Instruction

When reviewing the alignment of a material, our subject matter experts review multiple citations (e.g., pages, lessons, videos) listed in the publisher’s correlation for alignment to each state standard. For some products, this means that Learning List will have reviewed all of the citations listed in the publisher’s correlation; for others, it means that Learning List has reviewed several but not all of the publisher’s citations.

We constructed our review methodology to balance subscribers’ need for a thorough review againstCalendar their need for a timely review. Some publishers list more than 20 citations as aligned to each standard. If we were to review all of the listed citations, it would take months instead of weeks to complete a review, and educators told us that the resulting alignment reports would be too cumbersome to use.

A subscriber once asked, “Do you think that the fact you don’t review all of the citations in the publisher’s correlation diminishes the usefulness of your service?”  Even though we have not reviewed every citation listed in the publisher’s correlation, our alignment reports help educators focus on the parts of the material that will give them the greatest instructional value. [Read More …]

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Looking for a Way to Boost AP Scores?

In order to help students succeed in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, instructional materials must address the knowledge and skills articulated in the new AP course frameworks.  To that end, the College Board partnered with Learning List™ to provide educators with independent, professional reviews of AP materials[1].

As part of the review process, Learning List verifies a material’s alignment to each of the Learning Objectives (LO), Essential Knowledge statements (EKs) and Skills/Practices in the relevant course framework.  The alignment reports identify the “citations” (e.g., pages, lessons, videos) listed in the publisher’s correlation that Learning List verified to be aligned and not aligned to each LO, EK and Skill/Practice for the course.

The College Board used these reviews to decide which materials to include on the 2016 and 2017 Example Textbook Lists for each of these courses. However, educators should be aware that a material’s inclusion on an Example Textbook List does not mean that the material is aligned to 100% of the Learning Objectives or Skills/Practices of the course.  [Read More]

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5 Ways Learning List’s Alignment Reports Help You Get the Biggest “Bang for Your Buck” from Your Materials

Learning List’s alignment reports help teachers select materials that are aligned to the standards they need to teach.  Then, like a GPS through the product, our alignment reports show teachers specific citations in the material that they can use to address each standard fully.GPS

Learning List’s Alignment Reports

Our alignment reports show (a) the percentage of standards to which the material is aligned, (b) the standards to which the material is aligned and is not aligned, and (c) specific citations (e.g., pages, lessons videos) that have been independently verified to be aligned to each standard.[1]  [Read More …]

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A Timesaving Strategy for Effective Lesson Planning

My son and daughter attend a rural school district where most teachers wear multiple hats.  For example, my son’s math teacher is also a football, basketball, and baseball coach requiring him to stay at school until at least 7:00 pm most nights, and on game day he’s there until the team returns, which is often after 10:30 pm. Then, he’s back at school by 7:00 the next morning.

The challenges in this rural school are not unique; in every rural district, teachers juggle many professional responsibilities unrelated to the courses they teach.  writingWhen, then, do they have time to ensure that their lessons implement the state standards with fidelity? The materials used in a lesson will either help students learn the knowledge and skills the standards require or distract them, undermining the lesson’s effectiveness. [Read More…]

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Use Your Learning List Resources for T-TESS Coaching Support

Individual coaching conversations, professional learning communities, grade level team planning, and other informal learning situations are perfect opportunities for linking Learning List tools to support just-in-time learning.

In Administrators, Are You Using Learning List to Plan for Observations?, we provided sample coaching questions related to the T-TESS Dimensions for planning and instruction. As you continue to provide coaching support, you may want to leverage Learning List’s resources once again.  Accessing these tools takes only a few moments, and more importantly, saves you time in researching additional resources.  Below are the T-TESS Dimensions for planning and the Learning List tools that will assist you and the teachers you are supporting. Goals, Plan, Success

T-TESS Planning Dimension 1.1: The teacher designs clear, well organized, sequential lessons that reflect best practice, align with standards and are appropriate for diverse learners.

  • Learning List’s Alignment Comparison tool assists teachers in determining which of the district’s resources are aligned to the standards that they will address in the lesson(s) they are planning.
  • Learning List’s Spec Sheets and Editorial Reviews provide information about any adaptions the instructional materials provide to help teachers plan instruction for students with diverse learning needs.
  • Learning List’s Spec Sheet helps you identify materials that work on your district’s technology and the Spec  Sheet helps you quickly understand the technology requirements of materials you are considering or using. Both inform technology integration.

Planning Dimension 1.2: The teacher uses formal and informal methods to measure student progress, then manages and analyzes student data to inform instruction.

  • Learning List’s Spec Sheets and Editorial Reviews contain information about the assessments and monitoring tools provided in each instructional material.
  • Learning List’s Alignment Comparison tool and detailed Alignment Reports identify the citations in each material (e.g., lessons, pages, videos) that Learning List has verified to be aligned to each standard. When planning for differentiation or RtI, teachers can use these resources to identify materials aligned to standards students are struggling with.

Planning Dimension 1.3: Through knowledge of students and proven practices, the teacher ensures high levels of learning, social-emotional development and achievement for all students.

  • Learning List’s Spec Sheets and Editorial Reviews provide information about the adaptions each instructional material provides to assist teachers in planning for diverse learning needs.
  • Learning List’s search filters and Product Comparison tool make it easy to assess the vertical alignment of a material across grade levels.  Comparing the vertical alignment of a product across grade levels can assist teachers in planning intervention support.

Planning Dimension 1.4: The teacher plans engaging, flexible lessons that engage higher-order thinking, persistence and achievement.

  • Learning List’s Alignment Comparison tool assists teachers in determining which of the district’s resources are aligned to the standards they intend to address in the lesson they are planning.
  • Learning List’s Spec Sheets and Editorial Reviews provide information about the adaptions each instructional material provides to assist teachers in planning for diverse learning needs.

Coaching is an important part of your work as an educational leader. Leverage Learning List’s resources to save time, enhance teaching and accelerate learning in your district.

While the descriptors of practice may be different, suggestions for use of Learning List resources will likely fit any model of teacher evaluation and support.

 

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