Posts Tagged "Social Studies"

New Review: McGraw Hill’s A History of Europe in the Modern World (Palmer), AP

McGraw Hill's A History of Europe (Palmer)Learning List recently reviewed McGraw Hill’s A History of Europe in the Modern World (Palmer), AP Edition. Available in print and digital formats, this comprehensive course supports instruction in high school Advanced Placement (AP) European History. Instruction emphasizes Europe’s role in modern global exchanges, nation building, transnational commercial systems, colonial empires, and cultural transitions.


Europe in the Modern World begins with a “Geography and History” article that explains how geography shapes cultural understandings and its role in framing the study of European history.  The text’s first chapter is titled “The Rise of Europe” and summarizes modern Europe’s roots in the ancient and medieval worlds. Subsequent chapters are organized chronologically and focus on specific historical periods (e.g., “The Growing Power of Western Europe, 1640-1750”).


Instruction illustrates how primary and secondary sources reflect cultural understandings and assumptions. For example, some chapters include a “Historical Interpretations and Debates” feature that presents two very different perspectives on an event, individual, or cultural change of the period (e.g., the Industrial Revolution’s effects on work and domestic life). The course also underscores the experiences and developing roles of women in European history.


Europe in the Modern World’s end-of-chapter and test bank questions are formatted to reflect the types of questions on the AP World History exam. Additional online components, available separately from the publisher, support student self-study and preparation for AP exams (e.g., ONboard).


About McGraw Hill Education*

At McGraw-Hill Education, we believe that our contribution to unlocking a brighter future lies within the application of our deep understanding of how learning happens and how the mind develops. It exists where the science of learning meets the art of teaching. Our mission is to accelerate learning through intuitive, engaging, efficient and effective experiences – grounded in research.

Educators have been and always will be at the core of the learning experience. The solutions we develop help educators impart their knowledge to students more efficiently. We believe that harnessing technology can enhance learning inside and outside of the classroom and deepen the connections between students and teachers to empower greater success.

By partnering with educators around the globe, our learning engineers, content developers and pedagogical experts are developing increasingly open learning ecosystems that are proven to improve pass rates, elevate grades and increase engagement for each individual learner while improving outcomes for all.

Information in this section is provided by or adapted from McGraw Hill Education.

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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: Cengage Learning’s The Earth and Its Peoples, AP Edition


[Source: Cengage Learning]

Learning List has reviewed Cengage Learning’s The Earth and Its Peoples, AP Edition. This comprehensive resource supports instruction in Advanced Placement (AP) world history courses and is available in print and eBook formats with additional online components.

The course presents balanced coverage of the world’s regions and focuses on the shared experiences and challenges that unite people and cultures across time. Each chapter contains a set of essays that address patterns of development across the world’s societies and cultures:

  • Environment + Technology essays explore how human interaction with physical and social environments has led to innovations that have facilitated development and growth, and led to global change.
  • Diversity + Dominance essays consider the political, social, religious, and economic institutions that have affected human experiences, shaped dominant cultures and traditions, and informed diverse societies, customs, and beliefs.
  • Material Culture essays highlight the role of everyday objects and processes in shaping our understanding of the past.

Online student materials include “CourseMate for World History” and the “Fast Track to a 5: Preparing for the AP World History Examination.”  CourseMate contains maps, videos, quizzes, practice activities, interactive vocabulary flashcards, additional primary source documents (e.g., The Code of Hammurabi), and other materials. Fast Track to a 5 provides a diagnostic test to gauge students’ readiness for the AP exam, study guides with practice quizzes for the world’s regions, and two practice tests formatted to reflect the AP exam with multiple choice and free response questions.

cengage learning logo

[Source: Cengage Learning]

About Cengage Learning*

Cengage Learning believes that engagement is the foundation of learning… Engagement is at our core and our focus is on engaging with learners, both in the classroom and beyond, to ensure the most effective product design, learning solutions and personalized services – all to help people learn. We understand that an engaged learner is a successful one and we are leading the transition to digital with a unique faculty AND student perspective to transform learning through engagement. Our name itself reinforces this core commitment – “engage” is at the “center” of all we do.

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

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

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New Reviews: Apex Learning’s Texas World History

Apex Learning Logo

[source: Apex Learning]

Apex Learning’s Texas World History is a year-long, online course in world history for Texas high school students. Resources support instruction in self-paced, remediation, and credit recovery programs. Instruction focuses on building students’ reading, writing, and historical thinking skills. Learning List has recently completed reviews of the materials for high school students.

Texas World History is available in two versions: core and prescriptive. The core version supports instruction in core classes and the prescriptive version supports credit recovery programs. Both versions cover the same content, but the prescriptive version includes prescriptive pretests for each unit. In both versions, content is presented chronologically and divided in two semesters made up of six instructional units. Each semester focuses on a discrete set of historical thinking skills (e.g., causation, chronology).

Units begin with a short video overview in which engaging characters and teachers introduce new content with age-appropriate humor. Content is written at grade level and includes tools to help struggling readers. Writing activities are integrated throughout instruction. Online pages have worksheets with questions that help students take notes and prepare for quizzes and exams. Other materials include an interactive syllabus, study tips, glossary of key terms, printable readings, and research tips, such as avoiding plagiarism and citing sources.

About Apex Learning*

Founded in 1997, Apex Learning is the leading provider of blended and virtual learning solutions to the nation’s schools. The company’s standards-based digital curriculum — in math, science, English, social studies, world languages, and Advanced Placement® — is widely used for original credit, credit recovery, remediation, intervention, acceleration, and exam preparation.

Schools across the country are successfully using Apex Learning digital curriculum to meet the needs of students, from building foundational skills to creating opportunities for advanced coursework.

*The content provided here was provided by or adapted from Apex Learning.

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Learning List Reviews Advanced Placement (AP) Materials to Fuel Student Success

Hundreds of AP teachers from across the country will arrive in Austin, Texas, this week to attend the  AP Annual Conference.  Many will attend sessions with master teachers to learn how to teach the rigorous AP content.  A  criticaadvanced_placementl component to students’ success in AP courses is their instructional materials. The materials must teach students not only the content required for each course, but also the skills the courses are designed to develop.

Districts spend more money to purchase AP products than any other instructional materials. When Learning List started receiving requests for reviews of AP materials, we contacted College Board to inquire whether they review and recommend texts to AP teachers. We were told that College Board does not recommend texts and that they shared our concern that AP materials must align with the course frameworks for AP courses in order to support student success.  They explained that in the past, course descriptions were too general to make an alignment of materials instructionally meaningful.  However, in response to teachers’ requests, over a 15 year schedule, College Board will be publishing new course frameworks that specify the content and skills students are expected to learn and will be tested on for each AP course.

With a shared goal of helping publishers produce materials that will prepare students for success in AP courses, Learning List worked with College Board to develop alignment templates based on the recently rAP reviews image for blogeleased course frameworks.  Learning List now reviews AP materials for alignment to the Learning Objectives (LO) (i.e., what students must be able to do) and separately to the Skills and Practices (i.e., larger transferable skills) contained in the newly revised course frameworks for AP Physics (1 and 2), Chemistry, Biology, World History, European History, and US History.  Reviews of materials for AP Calculus AB and BC will begin this fall.  For Texas subscribers, Learning List also reviews AP texts for alignment to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for the relevant course.

Learning List’s alignment templates not only help educators identify where the materials are or are not aligned, but also provide ongoing professional development to help AP teachers better understand the connections between Learning Objectives and Science Practices in AP science courses and between the Thematic Learning Objectives and Historical Thinking Skills in AP social studies courses.

Recognizing the unique nature of AP courses, Learning List hires subject matter experts (SMEs) who are certified in the subject of the AP course and have experience teaching the course, as well.  Our SMEs report that reviewing AP materials is especially challenging because of the density of the texts.  “One cannot skim over a page or video to see whether a topic is addressed; you have to read all the text to determine whether it is aligned to an LO,” they explained.

Subscribing districts have requested reviews of AP materials from several publishers; Wiley Publishing was the first to submit their products for review.  Wiley representatives commented that Learning List’s review process helped them better understand how educators will use the new course frameworks instructionally, which in turn will help them develop products more closely aligned to the content and skills of the frameworks.  As a result, teachers and students will benefit.

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