Posts Tagged "alignment"

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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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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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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