Posts Tagged "RtI"

New Product Review: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Journeys

HMH's JourneysLearning List has reviewed Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Journeys, which is a comprehensive product that supports language arts and reading instruction in grades K-6. Content is available in print and online formats and facilitates instruction in blended learning environments. Journeys provides systematic and explicit instruction in key literacy skills at each grade level. Instruction focuses on vocabulary development, the close reading of complex texts, and using textual evidence to support conclusions.

Across grades, Journeys presents instruction using a consistent structure that incorporates predictable routines (e.g., think-pair-share). At grades K-2, content focuses on the needs of developing readers and emphasizes the development of phonemic awareness and phonics, reading, writing, and speaking skills. At grades 3-6, content builds systematically increasing students’ skills and introducing increasingly complex texts. Reading selections emphasize diverse cultures and perspectives, as well as themes that support inclusion.

Each lesson includes two, age-appropriate anchor texts that reflect the unit’s theme. Anchor texts are a balance of literary and informational texts. Instruction focuses on close reading skills and includes teacher-led whole group and small group activities. Each unit includes grammar and writing practice activities and a “Compare Texts” feature that helps students connect what they have read to themselves, other texts, and the real-world. Units at each grade level end with a performance-based project that emphasizes communication skills.

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt*

HMH creates engaging, dynamic and effective educational content and experiences from early childhood to K-12 and beyond the classroom, serving more than 50 million students in more than 150 countries. Available through multiple media, our content meets the needs of students, teachers, parents and lifelong learners, no matter where and how they learn.

HMH’s renowned and awarded children’s books, novels, nonfiction, and reference titles are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. Our distinguished author list, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Philip Roth, and brands from Curious George to The Lord of the Rings, includes 10 Nobel Prize winners, 48 Pulitzer Prize winners, 15 National Book Award winners, and more than 100 Caldecott, Newbery, Printz and Sibert Medal and Honor recipients.

Information in this section is provided by or adapted from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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New Review: Triumph Learning’s Texas Coach: Reading

Triumph Learning's Texas Coach: ReadingLearning List has reviewed Triumph Learning’s Texas Coach: Reading, Texas Edition. This supplemental program supports reading instruction for grades 3-8. Content is available in print and digital formats. Instruction addresses the concepts and skills needed for students to read and understand literary and informational texts. At each grade level, resources help prepare students for Texas’ STAAR exam. Learning List reviewed content for grades 3-5. Texas Coach supports remediation and instruction in Response to Intervention (RtI) programs

At each grade level, Texas Coach: Reading is organized in lessons and practice activities that reinforce a particular reading concept or skill (e.g., using context clues).  Lessons address a specific standard or set of related standards and are organized using the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) instructional model. Each lesson includes three parts:

  1. Getting the Idea offers direct instruction with clear explanations and examples.
  2. Thinking It Through models concepts and skills and includes hints to facilitate students’ understanding.
  3. Coached Example provides guided practice in new skills. Students respond to multiple choice questions that include hints to build their confidence.

Lessons are accompanied by a set of multiple-choice Practice questions that support independent practice and prepare students for the STAAR exam.

About Triumph Learning*

Triumph Learning is a leading educational content company and publisher of print and digital K-12 resources, standards-aligned instructional materials, and effective literacy programs.

For over two decades, Triumph Learning has been offering research-based supplemental and test preparation resources, robust teacher support, and professional development opportunities to accelerate learning. Triumph Learning is committed to serving all students with a mix of interactive digital tools such as Readiness and innovative student texts with products such as Support Coach, 2015 Teacher’s Choice Award winner, and Performance Coach for test success.

Information in this section is provided by or adapted from Triumph Learning.

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New Review: Apex Learning’s Texas Geometry

LApex Learning's Texas Geometryearning List has reviewed Apex Learning’s Texas Geometry. This is a comprehensive, online geometry product for Texas students. Core content is presented online and includes some printable materials. The course focuses on developing students’ conceptual understanding, computational skills, and proficiency in solving problems. Resources support instruction in self-paced, remediation, and credit-recovery programs.

Texas Geometry is organized in two semesters. The first semester’s content is presented in five units that cover the foundations of geometry, triangles, right triangles, quadrilaterals and other polygons, and circles without coordinates. The second semester presents content in four units that address coordinate geometry, constructions and transformations, three-dimensional solids, and applications of probability. Across semesters, students learn to reason mathematically and to use mathematical models and tools to solve real-world problems.

Each unit begins with a short video introduction that frames the real-world applications of what students will learn and connects new content to prior learning. Subsequent instruction is provided through a set of online activities and, where appropriate, accompanying worksheets. Each unit and semester ends with two versions of a unit/semester exam—one version presents open-ended questions and the second is made up of multiple choice items.

About Apex Learning*

Apex Learning’s digital curriculum is designed to support all students in achieving their potential, from those struggling with grade-level content to those capable of accelerating their learning. The curriculum is designed to actively engage students in learning—combining embedded supports and scaffolds to meet diverse student needs, actionable data to inform instruction, and success management, to ensure students get the outcomes they need.

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

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Three Critical Trends in Instructional Materials: #1 Observations about RtI Materials

We recently gave a presentation about three trends we are seeing in instructional materials. This blog post discusses the first: trends we are seeing in RtI materials.

RtI Process The goal of Response to Intervention (RtI) is to bridge the gap between the breakdown in a student’s understanding of concepts or skill development and current grade level expectations.

We have observed that while RtI materials do a good job of spiraling instruction back to lower grades where the student’s knowledge deficit began, the materials do not always bring the student up to the current grade level.

Another observation is that materials designed for RtI typically do not address all grade level standards.   Teachers must know which standards a material does not address so that they do not inadvertently use that material to reteach those standards.

Our next observation:  “adaptive” does not necessarily mean “aligned.” Some RtI materials are “adaptive,” meaning that the material customizes instruction with built-in flexibility to permit students to take various routes to, and the amounts of time for, individualized learning (Wang & Lindvall, 1984). The path of learning is prescribed according to the students’ learning needs, as indicated by their responses to questions, tasks and experiences most often determined in a diagnostic assessment.

We commonly find that lessons listed in RtI materials (i.e., the lessons that make up students’ customized learning pathways) are not aligned to the standards they intend to teach.  Students cannot learn what they’re not taught. If an adaptive RtI material is not aligned to the standards a student is struggling with, the material will not help the student learn the knowledge and/or skills he or she is lacking.

The bottom line: When using an adaptive RtI material, don’t set and forget. If you want that material to effectively remediate your students’ learning gaps, you must ensure that the lessons in each student’s pathway are aligned to the standards the student is struggling with.specsheetexrti

Lastly, “adaptive” does not mean that the material has adaptions for each of the special student populations.  Here, for example is the section of our Spec Sheet for a popular adaptive RtI material showing that this product does not have leveled readers.

We hope these observations, as well as our prior blog post on the same topic; will help you use your RtI materials most effectively to remediate your students learning gaps.

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2 Considerations: Planning for Interventions

If you’ve concluded your Beginning of Year (BOY) assessments, then you’re probably planning RtI for struggling students. When selecting instructional materials for intervention support, these two questions are critical to your students’ success:

  1. Is the material aligned to the standards students are struggling with?
  1. Does the instructional material provide sufficient practice for students to master those skills?

Imagine that your assessments show that a 2nd grade student needs help decoding multiple syllabic words (a) in context and (b) independent of context by applying common letter sound correspondences.

ELAR TEKS 2A

The table below shows a popular intervention material’s alignment to the Elements of the Standard that addresses decoding words in context.  The material is aligned to each Element of the Standard; in fact, all 3 of the citations Learning List reviewed* were aligned to each Element.

Standard 2.A.1: Decoding words in context:

ELAR TEKS 2A

In contrast, the table below shows the material’s alignment to the Elements of the Standard that addresses decoding words independent of context.  One of the citations Learning List reviewed was aligned to each Element of the Standard, but five other citations reviewed were not aligned.

Standard 2.A.2: Decoding words independent of context:

ELAR TEKS 2A

While the instructional material is aligned to both of the standards the student is struggling with, this material would provide only one opportunity for the student to learn/practice each Element of the second standard, decoding multisyllabic words independent of context.

Some level of repetition is typically required for students to understand, internalize, and master content and skills. If this is an adaptive material, this material’s single “aligned” citation may not be instructionally sufficient to help the student “master” decoding multisyllabic words independent of context.

If this were your student, you would be advised to look for a different material that contains more citations aligned to each Element of these two standards, or use the reviewer’s comments in the alignment report to adjust instruction to match the full intent of the standard.

Learning List’s alignment reports make it easy to identify materials that are aligned to the standard your students are struggling with and help you determine whether the material provides sufficient practice for your students to master those standards.

*If the publisher’s correlation lists fewer than three citations as aligned to a standard, Learning List’s subject matter experts review all of the citations listed. If the publisher’s correlation cites more than three citations as being aligned to a standard, Learning List employs a “spot check” verification methodology – at least three and up to eight citations are reviewed for alignment to the standard. If teachers want to use a citation that Learning List has not reviewed, they would be advised to check the alignment of the citation themselves. However, Learning List’s alignment report serves as a guide as to how likely it is that any additional citation would be aligned to that standard.

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