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New Product: Savvas Learning Company’s Three Cheers for Pre-K

New Product: Savvas Learning Company’s Three Cheers for Pre-K

Are your Prekindergarten teachers ready to adopt new materials during Texas Proclamation 2021? Take a look at Learning List’s reviews of Savvas Learning Company’s Three Cheers for Pre-K.

Savvas Learning Company’s Three Cheers for Pre-K is a comprehensive program for Prekindergarten. The program provides skills-based learning experiences designed around purposeful play and children’s literature. Three Cheers for Pre-K is designed to support instruction in the ten domains of the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines, balancing social and emotional, physical, and academic development. 

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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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The Three Cs of Alignment

One of the topics we are often asked to present at conferences is how to align a material to state standards. Before you begin the hard work of aligning materials, you must ensure that teachers understand the knowledge and skills each Student Expectation requires students to learn.

Each Student Expectation contains three parts, which we call the “Three Cs of the Standard”: the content, context and cognitive demand.

  • The Content of the Expectation states what students are required to learn. The content is typically the noun(s) of the Student Expectation.Three Cs
  • The Context of the Expectation is where/when the learning should be taking place.
    • In the Common Core State Standards, the context may be articulated in the Expectation itself, or the Cluster or Domain may articulate the context for the Expectation.
    • In the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the context may be articulated in the Student Expectation or in the Knowledge and Skills Statement.
    • In ELA, for example, the context of an Expectation is a particular genre. In social studies, the context for an Expectation is often the time period or type of history (e.g., US history, World history, Texas history, etc.). For science, the context is where the learning should be taking place (e.g., in the laboratory, in field investigations, on the Earth’s surface).
  • The Cognitive Demand is what the Expectation requires students to be able to do. The cognitive demand is typically the verb(s) of the Student Expectation.

To determine whether a citation (i.e., a page, unit, lesson) in the material is aligned to a Student Expectation, you have to make sure that the citation addresses all three Cs of the Student Expectation. This may be more difficult than it sounds, because Student Expectations are often both compound and complex sentences. Thus, an Expectation typically contains several nouns and several verbs.

If a single citation does not address all of the nouns and verbs contained in an Expectation, teachers must be aware of the citation’s deficit or else their students may not learn all of the knowledge and skills the Expectation requires. Teachers can adjust their instruction to make up for the material’s deficit or assign multiple citations that align to different portions of the Expectation to ensure that students are exposed the entire Expectation.

 

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Three of the Five Largest Texas School Districts Subscribe to Learning List

[Source: IMCAT]

[Source: IMCAT]

Following the recent release of the State Board of Education’s adoption list, three of the five largest school districts in Texas have subscribed to Learning List for independent reviews of instructional materials. Learning List, the industry-leading instructional materials review service for schools and districts, has reviewed the state-adopted materials, as well as many other products not submitted for state adoption in all four core subjects. This announcement today was shared at the Instructional Materials Coordinators  Association of Texas (IMCAT) conference in Fort Worth, Texas (Learning List is at Booth 315).

“We need to make sure that we’re being good stewards of the taxpayer’s funds,” said Matt Tyner, Textbook Manager for Dallas Independent School District. “Learning List’s reviews provide our selection committees with the information they need to help them decide if a material will meet our students’ needs. We’ve told publishers that Dallas ISD won’t consider purchasing materials that are not either on the state-adopted list or reviewed by Learning List.”

Learning List reviews comprehensive as well as supplemental products which are designed for a specific niche. Three types of reviews are featured for each instructional material: a detailed alignment report to state standards; an editorial review and educator ratings and reviews.

“We must ensure that we are purchasing the best materials for our students. Learning List expands the selection of materials we can consider. Their reviews then help us narrow our choices so that teachers spend less time in selection committees and have more time to teach,” said Dr. Linda Mora, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction for Northside ISD.

Not only can subscribing districts access Learning List’s completed reviews, they can also request reviews of additional materials. In that way, Learning List becomes an extension of the district’s curriculum department.

Austin ISD was one of the first subscribing districts. According to Dr. Suzanne Burke, Associate Superintendent for Academics for Austin ISD, “Our district used Learning List last year and found the service to be well worth the subscription price. With so many product choices these days, we simply don’t have the staff or time to review materials as thoroughly as Learning List does. Their reviews provide a great starting point for our selection process and give us greater confidence in our purchasing decisions.”

Stretch-Your-BudgetVisit LearningList.com for more information about the service or schedule a free webinar to see the reviews/tools on the site and qualify for a free trial. Learning List is exhibiting at IMCAT on Monday, December 8th and Tuesday, December 9th. Jackie Lain, President of Learning List, will be presenting at 2:15PM on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 2:15PM at the Omni Texas I conference room. The session is “Learn How to Project Your IMA & Strategies for Stretching Your IMA Funds.”

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Do the materials you are using for remote instruction support a high-quality learning experience for your students?

When implementing an instructional material during in-person instruction, teachers can adjust instruction, add instructional strategies, and differentiate instruction for their students. During remote instruction, however, teachers may not have as many opportunities to adjust instruction to meet their students’ needs. Therefore, the quality of instructional materials used for remote instruction is more important than ever.

Learning List has reviewed thousands of instructional materials, and we consider many factors in our qualitative reviews. In previous blogs we’ve written about considerations for selecting materials to support continuous learning and things to look for if selecting online materials.   This blog takes a deeper look at assessing the quality of instructional materials used for remote instruction.

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