Posts Tagged "Middle School"

New Review: BrainPop

BrainPopLearning List recently reviewed BrainPOP’s core content resources (i.e., science, social studies, mathematics, and English language arts) for grades K-8. BrainPOP is a supplemental program that supports instruction in the core content areas as well as technology, arts and music, and health. Resources are available online and include some printable materials (e.g., worksheets). Instruction uses engaging videos and interactive concept maps to address content.

BrainPOP organizes content in “Topics” that address a range of subject-area concepts (e.g., atoms, citizenship, writing skills). Topics include a short movie in which an animated characters named Annie (grades K-3) and Tim (grades 4-8) and their robot friend Moby explore a question (e.g., How do tornadoes form?). Movies provide background information, explore and illustrate key concepts (e.g., updrafts), and introduce and define new vocabulary.

After the movie, students can “Make a Map” and/or take a short quiz over content. Make a Map allows students to create a concept map using a set of premade map templates, such as compare and contrast, vocabulary, cyclical relationships, and problem/solution analysis. Tools also allow students to create entirely new concept maps. The quiz is a five-question multiple-choice check for understanding.

Other resources include content-related games, an “FYI” feature, and additional activities related to the video. FYI is a set of 5-paragraph, illustrated, informational articles and a related comic that extend students’ learning. For example, the FYI for a social studies topic addressing the California Gold Rush includes articles about traveling to California Trail and the Donner Party, John Sutter, and a comic addressing gold prices.

About BrainPOP*

BrainPOP was founded in 1999 by Avraham Kadar, M.D., an immunologist and pediatrician, as a creative way to explain difficult concepts to his young patients. Today, BrainPOP is used in 25 percent of U.S. elementary and middle schools, with rapid international growth. An in-house team of educators, animators, and writers produce and continually improve BrainPOP, incorporating valuable teacher and parent input.

*Information in this section is provided by or adapted from BrainPOP.

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New Review: Illustrative Mathematics

[Source: Illustrative Mathematics]

[Source: Illustrative Mathematics]

Illustrative Mathematics (IM) is a supplemental, open educational resource (OER) that supports the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM) in grades K-12. The program is available online and includes sample problems, curriculum modules, and professional development resources. Materials are available at no cost at www.illustrativemathematics.org. Learning List recently reviewed IM content for middle school (i.e., grades 6-8).

IM content is organized by CCSSM domain (e.g., Geometry), cluster (e.g., “Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, surface area, and volume.”), and standard (e.g., “Find the area of right triangles, other triangles, special quadrilaterals, and polygons by…”). For each standard, the program provides a set of printable “learning tasks,” or multi-step problems. Each learning task is accompanied by a “Commentary,” a detailed narrative description of the solution, and a comments section. The Commentary explains the problem, its purpose, and different strategies students may use to solve it.  The solutions narrative provides step-by-step guidance in reaching the problem’s solution. The comments section allows users to add their feedback and suggestions.

“Course Blueprints” for grades 6-8 were “Under construction!” at the time of our review (July 2016); Course Blueprints available at the high school level are curriculum modules organized in units with diagnostic pre-tests and summative assessments. Additional instructional materials and professional development modules are available for purchase on the IM website.

About Illustrative Mathematics*

IM is a discerning community of educators dedicated to the coherent learning of mathematics. Founded in 2011 at the University of Arizona, IM has operated since 2013 as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. IM shares carefully vetted resources for teachers and teacher leaders to give our children an understanding of mathematics and skill in using it. IM provides expert guidance to states, districts, curriculum writers, and assessment writers working to improve mathematics education.

* The content in this section is provided by or adapted from Illustrative Mathematics

Subscribe to Learning List for access to the spec sheet, full editorial review and detailed alignment report for this material.

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New Review: Curriculum Associates’ STAAR Ready Math

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[Source: Curriculum Associates]

Learning List has reviewed Curriculum Associates’ STAAR Ready Math. This supplemental resource supports math instruction and preparation for Texas’s STAAR testing for students in grades 1-8. Materials are available in print format. Content addresses grade-level TEKS while developing students’ understanding of key concepts and ability to apply concepts in problem solving activities.

Content is presented in units organized by the STAAR Performance Categories (e.g., Measurement and Graphing). Units are made up of short, scaffolded lessons that focus on one or more TEKS. Instruction is organized using the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) model and includes direct instruction, modeling, and guided and independent practice.  

At each grade level, “Teacher Guides” contain tools to help teachers transition to the new mathematics TEKS. Guides provide a crosswalk document that explains how the STAAR Ready program addresses the demands of the TEKS, including the process standards. A pair of tables (1) identify lesson activities and problems that require higher level thinking as measured by Webb’s Depth of Knowledge index, and (2) present a “Cognitive Rigor Matrix” that combines Webb’s and Bloom’s indicators of high level thinking and describes student behaviors that demonstrate higher-level thinking. Teacher Guides also have correlation tables for lesson activities and STAAR Practice problems.

curriculum associates logo

[Source: Curriculum Associates]

About Curriculum Associates*

Curriculum Associates is a rapidly growing education company committed to making classrooms better places for teachers and students. We believe that all children have the chance to succeed, and our research-based, award-winning products, including i-Ready®, Ready®, BRIGANCE®, and other programs, provide teachers and administrators with flexible resources that deliver meaningful assessments and data-driven, differentiated instruction for children.

Because we are independently owned and operated, we are able to provide the best prices so that every district, school, and educator can afford to bring top quality resources to their students. By maintaining our independence, we are able to channel our investments toward the things that really matter—like product development, research, and unmatched customer service.

For the past 40 years, we have consistently developed high-quality products that make a profound difference in the lives of students and educators, and we will continue to bring these proven products—as well as new ones—to you in the future.

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

Subscribe to Learning List for access to full editorial reviews, alignment reports and spec sheets.

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Reviewed: LAB-AIDS’ SEPUP Science

LA_logo

[Source: LAB-AIDS’ SEPUP Science]

Learning List has reviewed LAB-AIDS’ SEPUP Science resources for middle school science (i.e., grades 6-8) and high school biology courses. LAB-AID’s inquiry-based program organizes instruction around themes related to societal issues and students’ lives. Hands-on activities are at the center of instruction and provide opportunities for all students to explore science concepts. Course resources are available in print and eBook formats.

The Science Education for Public Education Program (SEPUP) Science program incorporates a student-centered, activity-based approach to instruction. Content is organized using the 5E Model of Instruction (i.e., engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate), and investigations are at the center of learning experiences. Teacher Resources include detailed guidance in implementing the SEPUP system of instruction, including questioning strategies, formative and summative approaches to assessing student progress.

Literacy strategies are embedded throughout instruction. New vocabulary is introduced in context and referenced in the student edition index. Student readings reinforce the concepts addressed in investigations and frequent writing activities allow students to reflect on and derive meaning from their experiences. Course activities are designed to address the learning styles of young adults and incorporate many opportunities for peer interaction, including role play and collaborative group work.

About LAB-AIDS’ SEPUP Science*

sepup science

[Source: LAB-AIDS’ SEPUP Science]

SEPUP (Science Education for Public Understanding Program) began in 1987 as a not-for-profit project to develop hands-on materials about chemicals and their use for schools and community groups. It was initially called CEPUP (Chemical Education for Public Understanding Program). As the mission of the project expanded to include other scientific disciplines, the name changed to SEPUP.

Part of UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, SEPUP continues to be a not-for-profit project that is primarily supported by grants. However, most of our curriculum is now intended for schools. We have commercially available curricular materials that are used in school districts from Los Angeles to New York. For information on purchasing these materials, please visit LAB-AIDS, the sole producer and distributor of SEPUP materials.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from LAB-AIDS’ SEPUP Science.

Subscribe to Learning List for access to full editorial reviews, alignment reports and spec sheets.

 

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Reviewed: Inquiry by Learning.com

inquiry

[Source: Learning.com]

Learning.com’s Inquiry is a web-based, K-8 resource focused on developing students’ technology skills and supporting schools’ transition to project-based learning (PBL) in the core subject areas. Content includes subject-based projects at each grade level as well as age-appropriate instruction in digital citizenship differentiated for the early elementary (K-2), elementary (3-5), and middle (6-8) school levels. Learning List has reviewed the Texas Edition resources for grades K-8.

Each grade level includes six pre-developed blended learning projects that address one of the four core content areas (i.e., math, ELA, science, and social studies). Projects begin with an optional pre-test that assesses whether students have the technology skills needed to complete the project. Based on pre-test results, students are prescribed individualized lessons from the “EasyTech” library that address gaps in technology skills.

Projects are framed in terms of an “Essential Question” and are structured as sequential tasks that students complete either individually or in groups to produce a final digital product. Projects require students to research, create, and present content using digital resources and some projects also include games, quizzes, and journaling assignments. Projects are flexible and teachers may choose to implement some or all components. Each project includes detailed lesson plans, estimated timelines, and suggested evaluation and extension activities.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 12.52.56 PM

[Source: Learning.com]

About Learning.com*

Learning.com provides K-12 solutions to help students, teachers, and schools excel in a digital world. Districts around the country equip their students with the digital literacy skills needed for online assessments, college, and the workforce using their digital literacy solutions. Learning.com supports districts as they move to digital content with tools to build and share district-created digital curriculum.

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

Subscribe to Learning List for access to full editorial reviews, alignment reports and spec sheets.

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