Effective Practice

The Importance of Developing Teachers: Part Two Using Learning List’s Resources to Support Teacher Growth

This is Part Two of a post in response to the recent report Leadership Perspectives on Public Education: The Gallup 2017 Survey of K-12 School District Superintendents.  As discussed in our first post, the superintendents who participated in the Gallup 2017 Survey identified teacher quality as the most important element in student success, but noted the difficulty in hiring talented teachers. In particular, superintendents said that the quantity and quality of new teachers is decreasing and that districts need to become more effective in training teaching staff.

In Part One of this post, we explored how districts can use the resources embedded in instructional materials to support teacher professional development. In this post, we examine how the tools on LearningList.com can facilitate training by enhancing teachers’ understanding of state standards and how standards shape day-to-day instruction.

Learning List features a detailed alignment report for each product we review.  The alignment reports reflect our independent verification of the alignment of citations listed in the publisher’s correlation. In order for Learning List to consider a citation to be aligned to the standard, the citation must address the content, context, and cognitive demand specified in the standard. [Read more…]

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The Importance of Developing Teachers: Part One Using Instructional Materials to Support Teacher Growth

The new report Leadership Perspectives on Public Education: The Gallup 2017 Survey of K-12 School District Superintendents identifies the key challenges that school leaders believe are facing public education today.  Not surprisingly, superintendents say that quality teachers who can engage students and build excitement about learning are the most critical element in improving student outcomes. However, surveyed superintendents underscored the difficulty of finding talented teachers. The report’s conclusion explains:

Superintendents believe having teachers who create excitement about the future is, more than any other proposed strategy or initiative, extremely important for preparing students for success later in life. But finding enough quality teachers is a difficult task, and superintendents are much less likely to see their district as effective in recruiting new teachers as effective in selecting, developing or retaining them. A majority also see the quantity of new teacher candidates decreasing, and more view the quality of those candidates as decreasing rather than increasing (p. 31). [Read more…]

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Meeting Students’ Learning Needs: Alignment Information Supports Selection of Materials for Differentiation

Using Materials Effectively to Differentiate InstructionHave you ever been frustrated when attempting to plan differentiated lessons? Though “differentiation” is a rather simple concept, it is complex to implement successfully.

Most teachers understand that any resource used to differentiate instruction must have the requisite adaptions for the students being taught. For example, materials being used to teach ELLs should have multi-lingual glossaries, linguistic accommodations, and culturally relevant examples and activities to engage ELL students. Materials being used to engage Gifted and Talented students would have extension/ enrichment activities, higher-level questions, and options for inquiry-based learning.  And, for RtI, the materials should have options for each tier of intervention. [Read more…]

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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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