Instructional Materials

New Product Review: CodeCombat

Code CombatLearning List has reviewed CodeCombat. This comprehensive product supports computer science instruction in grades 4-12, including Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles courses. Content is available online and includes printable resources. Instruction is game based and addresses the structure and syntax of computer programming using the JavaScript and Python programming languages. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Accelerate Learning STEMscopes

Accelerate Learning's STEMscopesAccelerate Learning’s STEMscopes is a comprehensive product that supports science instruction in grades PK-12. Content is available in print and digital formats and includes kits of hands-on materials for each K-5 grade level and middle school and high school course (e.g., physical science). Instruction provides hands-on investigations, activities that link science to other content areas, and collaborative learning experiences. Learning List recently reviewed resources for K-12. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Texas Instruments 10 Minutes of Code

TI CodesLearning List has reviewed Texas Instruments’ 10 Minutes of Code. This supplemental online product introduces students to programming concepts and the basics of coding using Texas Instruments’ TI-84 Plus and TI-Nspire™ graphing calculators. Instruction is provided in short, hands-on lessons that may be completed in about 10 minutes. Resources may be accessed at no cost on the Texas Instruments website. [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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New Product Review: Empowering Writers Editing, Revising, and More

Empowering Writers’ Editing, Revising, and More is a supplemental writing product that supports writing instruction in grades K-8.  Content is available in print format with some teaching materials available on CD-ROM. Instruction focuses on developing students’ effective use of language, including grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. Learning List recently reviewed resources for grade 4. [Read more…]

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Trends in Advanced Placement: Increasing Supports for Students and Teachers

Increasing the available instructional supports for Advanced Placement (AP) teachers and students is one of the key themes that emerged from College Board’s AP Annual Conference 2017.  At the conference, the College Board announced that in 2019-20, it will roll out a new dashboard that enables AP teachers to create instructional materials tailored to their students’ individual needs. The dashboard will provide access to AP assignments, benchmark tests, unit guides, and related unit tests, as well as other materials to help teachers prepare their students for AP exams.

Learning List applauds the increased emphasis on supporting teachers in the College Board’s plan for new services. As our subscribers know, any material included on the College Board’s “Recommended List” must have been reviewed by Learning List. Our AP reviews consider how well each product is aligned to its respective course framework; the product’s instructional content and design, including supports for teachers; and the product’s technology specifications.  Taken together, our reviews provide a holistic view of a product that enables educators to understand whether a product will meet their students needs. [Read more…]

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