Posts Tagged "Common Core"

New Reviews: LearnZillion’s (OER) Mathematics [Grades 2-12]

[Source: LearnZillion]

[Source: LearnZillion]

LearnZillion is an online, open educational resource that provides supplementary mathematics teaching materials for grades 2-12. Resources are free and address the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). At each grade level, instruction is presented in short Video Lessons and detailed lesson plans (i.e., Full Lessons) that focus on a particular standard or set of standards. Learning List has recently completed reviews of LearnZillion’s OER math materials.

Click the image for YouTube video [source: LearnZillion]

Click the image for YouTube video [source: LearnZillion]

Video Lessons are narrated slide shows that focus on particular mathematics concepts and skills (e.g., “Find the volume of 3-dimensional objects”). Lessons begin with a review of what students already know and then provide step-by-step guidance in solving problems, including the use of mathematical tools (e.g., unit cubes) in finding solutions. Some Video Lessons include a “Commentary” video that provides background information about the topic and the approach to instruction for teachers.

Full Lessons are detailed lesson plans centered on slide shows with teaching notes. Slide shows focus on problem-solving and include activities that foster “productive struggle” with concepts. Academic vocabulary is highlighted and instruction encourages students to consider multiple solution paths and share their solution strategies with the class. Full Lessons reference the Mathematical Practice Standards (MPS) addressed in each lesson and lesson plans provide teachers with detailed guidance in incorporating the MPS in instruction.

About LearnZillion*

LearnZillion is dedicated to championing teachers and supporting their ongoing professional development. Teachers develop expertise and insights while working with students, and have exceptional ideas for how to improve classroom learning. However, they have never been able to integrate that expertise into a curriculum that keeps getting better. LearnZillion believes that empowering teachers to collaborate and share best practices creates new possibilities for students, and the profession.

LearnZillion.com offers a free and growing set of Math and English Language resources for grades 2-12 that have been developed by expert teachers directly from the Common Core State Standards. LearnZillion’s premium participatory curriculum platform enables schools and districts to accelerate the successful implementation of the Common Core, augment the efficacy of their coaches, create class time capacity to address differentiation needs, and build teacher leaders.

The idea for LearnZillion began at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. where co-founder Eric Westendorf, was principal. After watching 6th grade teacher Andrea Smith teach her students what it meant to divide by fractions, Eric wondered, “could powerful learning experiences be captured so that teachers didn’t have to re-invent the wheel every time they taught a standard?” He decided to find out. Working with Andrea and a few other E.L. Haynes teachers, he created a homemade website that featured screencasts of high quality, Common Core lessons. The website worked. Not only could teachers find examples of high quality lessons, but parents and students also benefited from the explanations. Thanks to a Next Generation Learning Challenge Grant, Eric was able to grow the idea. He teamed up with former classmate and teacher, Alix Guerrier, and together they recruited an initial corps of 20 Dream Team teachers from across the country. The Dream Team grew to 123 the following year. In 2013, 200 teachers from 42 states worked on high quality Common Core lessons. There are now over 10,000 high quality resources on the site, covering grades 2-12 in math and ELA. LearnZillion also launched it’s premium offering to enable states, districts, and schools to provide powerful and invigorating professional development experiences for their own teachers. For more about the founding story, check out this post on their blog, The LearnZillion Insider.

* The content in this section is provided by or adapted from LearnZillion.

© 2015 Learning List

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New Reviews: Mathalicious Lessons for Grades 6-8 & HS Math

[Source: Mathalicious]

[Source: Mathalicious]

Mathalicious is an online, supplemental resource that supports Common Core middle school and high school math instruction. Instruction emphasizes the application of math to real-world issues and focuses on algebra, geometry, statistics, and probability at the high school level. Instruction is teacher guided and focuses on engaging students in meaningful conversations about mathematics. Learning List has completed reviews for Mathalicious Lessons for Grades 6-8 as well as Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry.

Lessons are designed for use with LCD projectors or interactive white boards and last about two days (block scheduled). Online resources are organized in three parts Plan, Teach, and Reflect. Content includes video and audio clips and interactive slide shows that help students visualize the concepts they are learning. Discussions of problem-solving strategies are integrated throughout instruction.

Mathalicious lessons may be searched by grade level, topic, standard, and key word. Interactive tools enable teachers to display charts, graphs, and data in ways that support student understanding. For example, the “Projector Mode” tool makes interactive graph images bolder and larger for easier viewing using LCD projectors or interactive white boards.

About Mathalicious*

[Source: Mathalicious]

[Sample Lessons – Source: Mathalicious]

The Mathalicious team thinks the world is an interesting place full of interesting questions. Do people with small feet pay too much for shoes? Do taller Olympic sprinters have an unfair advantage? How have video game consoles changed over time…and are we building the Matrix? They also think math class is the perfect place for students and teachers to explore questions like these, and that it can be the most interesting part of the day.

All teachers want to engage their students in meaningful learning experiences. Mathalicious helps teachers create a different kind of math class. They create lessons that explore the math behind real-world topics, from sports to shopping to the odds of finding life on other planets. These lessons put teachers and students in a position to have interesting conversations that foster a classroom culture of curiosity and rigorous mathematical thinking.

According to Mathalicious, teachers who use their lessons say they enjoy their jobs more, and that their students look forward to coming to class. The Common Core Standards emphasize problem solving and critical thinking. Every Mathalicious lesson is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. In fact, most lessons connect multiple content standards, and help build deep conceptual understanding through real-world contexts. And live more fully in it.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from Mathalicious.

© 2015 Learning List

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ORIGO Stepping Stones is 100% Aligned

[Source: Origo Education]

[Source: ORIGO Education]

ORIGO Stepping Stones is a comprehensive, mathematics curriculum for grades K-5 available in English and Spanish. It provides a conceptual approach to math instruction using digital and print resources. The module-based program aligns with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Embedded videos provide teachers with on-time professional development in the content base and pedagogy needed to effectively address standards in classroom instruction. In addition, lessons include step-by-step guidance for teachers and explicit links to the relevant standards

[Click Image for YouTube Video courtesy of Origo]

[Click Image for YouTube Video courtesy of ORIGO]

Learning List has verified that Stepping Stones is aligned to 100% of the Common Core math standards in grades K-5, and with newly developed content, is aligned to 100% of the TEKS in grades 1-5, as well. Submitted for state adoption in Texas as part of Proclamation 2014, the Stepping Stones was found to be less than 100% aligned in each grade level. The publisher subsequently developed new content in both English and Spanish to address the unmet TEKS and submitted that content to Learning List for review. Learning List has verified that the new content aligned to each of the initially unmet TEKS in grades 1-5. Thus, Stepping Stones is aligned to 100% of the TEKS in grades 1-5 and 97% aligned in Kindergarten.

Stepping Stones teaches elementary math using real world problems and reinforces learning through visual models and games. Lessons combine discussion and examples to provide comprehensive, differentiated instruction with clear links to standards. The program scaffolds instruction, frequently revisiting content from earlier modules and grade levels. Instruction includes cross-curricular connections that link math to other subject areas, including social studies, science, and language arts. Online resources, including manipulatives, interactive tools, and games, allow students to practice skills through meaningful and engaging activities. Multiple representations of content ensure instruction addresses differences in students’ learning styles.

About ORIGO*

[Source: ORIGO]

[Source: ORIGO]

ORIGO was established in 1997 when co-founders James Burnett and Dr Calvin Irons identified the need to meet a growing demand for professional development in mathematics. With the vision of making a positive contribution to children’s education, James and Cal began writing and producing mathematics resources from a makeshift office in James’ home. Today, ORIGO provides a complete education solution to its customers by combining an innovative range of mathematics products with quality professional learning services.

Originally trading as Prime Education, in 2002 the company name was changed to ORIGO – Latin for “original” or “the source” – reflecting their commitment to ORIGO becoming the premier source of inspiration for math teachers. Their product range illustrates this commitment, with a diverse selection of creative products that bring a renewed enthusiasm to students’ learning experience.

ORIGO covers all facets of elementary mathematics education: from traditional printed products to digital interactive resources and professional learning. ORIGO Stepping Stones delivers a world-class mathematics program that seamlessly blends digital and print resources. ORIGO demonstrates a commitment to excellence by creating products that inspire and empower teachers & students.

ORIGO provides mathematical resources and professional learning to educators throughout the world. National headquarters is based in St. Charles, Missouri, and provides customers with quality service, support and resources.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from ORIGO Education.

© 2015 Learning List

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New Reviews: LearnZillion (OER) – ELAR

Click image for video [Source: LearnZillion]

Click image for video [Source: LearnZillion]

LearnZillion is an online, open educational resource (OER) that provides supplementary English language arts and reading (ELAR) instructional materials for grades 2-12. Resources are free and address the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Instruction focuses on developing students’ close reading, writing, and language skills and supporting teachers’ understanding of the CCSS. Content is presented in short video lessons that include detailed lesson plans that focus on a particular standard or set of standards. Learning List recently completed reviews of their materials for grades 2-12.

Lessons are organized in three overarching categories: (1) Close Reading: Informational Text, (2) Close Reading: Literary Text, and (3) Writing. Close Reading instruction is presented in units focused on particular text (e.g., The Diamond Necklace) and made up of five lessons (i.e., about a week’s worth of instruction). Writing instruction focuses on writing skills (e.g., write opinions that can be supported with facts) and language skills (e.g., recognize and correct run-on sentences).

Click Image for Video [source: LearnZillion]

Click Image for Video [source: LearnZillion]

About LearnZillion*

LearnZillion is dedicated to championing teachers and supporting their ongoing professional development. Teachers develop expertise and insights while working with students, and have exceptional ideas for how to improve classroom learning. However, they have never been able to integrate that expertise into a curriculum that keeps getting better. LearnZillion believes that empowering teachers to collaborate and share best practices creates new possibilities for students, and the profession.

LearnZillion Content Philosophy: It’s hard to teach a lesson. It’s harder to teach it well. And it’s particularly hard to teach it in a way that resonates and sticks with students. Teachers not only have to understand their content, they have to know the best way to teach it. This idea of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) – knowledge of the content and the way to make it accessible to students – is at the heart of LearnZillion. PCK has become even more important with the depth that is now required by the Common Core State Standards. Their offerings are meant to help get teachers started with lessons that were designed with PCK in mind. The resources on their site were built by a talented group of hundreds of practicing teachers (a.k.a. the LearnZillion Dream Team) for teachers everywhere. Collectively, as a community, LearnZillion will continue to improve upon these lessons, building more practical resources and PCK as they move forward.

[Click here to subscribe to the Learning List blog.]

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from LearnZillion.

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Buyer Beware (Part 2): Believing Materials Are “Aligned to Standards” When Publishers Say They Are

First, why is alignment so important? Teachers rely on their instructional materials for 80 percent of their curriculum. They expect that the materials the district purchases will be aligned to 100% of the standards. If the material is not aligned to the depth and rigor of each standard, and the teacher is not aware of the material’s deficits, he/she will not supplement with additional products or adjust his/her instructional strategies to ensure that the students fully learn all of the standards. If students are not taught the knowledge and skills required by the state’s standards, they will not do well academically.

Here’s a snapshot of a few instructional materials that show the contrast between the “Publisher Submitted Alignment Percentage” vs. the  “Learning List Alignment Percentage” for the TEKS standards (Texas Education Knowledge and Skills) for ELA/R (English Language Arts and Reading) and Math across various grade levels:

[Source: Learning List]

[Source: Learning List]

Similarly, here’s a snapshot of a few instructional materials that show the contrast between the “Publisher Submitted Alignment Percentage” vs. the  “Learning List Alignment Percentage” for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA/R and Math across various grade levels:

[Source: Learning List]

[Source: Learning List]

Bottom line: the alignment of your district’s instructional materials will inevitably impact your students’ scores, which in turn, will impact your teachers’ evaluations and campus and district accountability ratings.

Solution: Have two or three teachers carefully check the citations in the publisher’s correlation to make sure that the citations listed are aligned to the content, context and cognitive demand of each standard. Why more than one teacher? Determining alignment is an inherently subjective endeavor; having a few teachers work together to check the material’s alignment is necessary to reduce the subjectivity of alignment determinations.

At Learning List, three and sometimes four subject matter experts (experienced teachers certified in the grade and subject of the products they review) check the alignment of each instructional material. On average, we spend about 14 hours reviewing the alignment of each instructional material featured on Learning List.

Support your teachers and students’ success by ensuring that the materials you purchase (either individually or in the aggregate) are truly aligned to 100% of the standards in each grade and subject.

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