Effective Practice

New Product Review: The Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Science Dollars and Sense

New Product Review: The Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Science Dollars and Sense

Learning List recently reviewed The Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences’ (CCFCS) Dollars and Sense. The product was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response to the Texas Education Agency’s Proclamation 2019 call for high school Personal Financial Literacy products aligned to the new PFL Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Dollars and Sense is a comprehensive online course that is designed for teacher use. The interactive syllabus contain links to printable student materials (e.g., worksheets). Stand-alone student materials (e.g., a textbook) are not provided.

Dollars and Sense includes clear links to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Texas high school PFL and Dollars and Sense courses as well as national standards (e.g., National Standards in Personal Financial Education). Content is organized in an online syllabus with topics such as the “Importance of Financial Planning,” “Consequences of Economic Decisions,” and “Careers.” Each topic is broken into one or more subtopics. For example, the topic titled “Big-Ticket Purchases” is broken into two subtopics: “Big purchases (other than houses)” and “Housing.” Most content is delivered in PowerPoint presentations; PowerPoint presentations and other teaching resources may be printed for student use. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: InterEthnic Alphabet Harbor/Harbor Friends Series

New Product Review: InterEthnic Alphabet Harbor/Harbor Friends Series

InterEthnic’s Alphabet Harbor/Harbor Friends Series is a comprehensive handwriting product for grades K-5. Content is available in print format. Grades K and 1 address printing. Grades 2-5 develop cursive writing skills. Instruction emphasizes the connection between written letters and their sounds. Letters are personified as “Harbor Friends” or “Harbor Pals” using clipart images of children and animals (e.g., Zany Z).

At each grade level, the Harbor Friends handwriting series presents content in a consumable “Student Workbook.” At grades K and 1, instruction is organized in terms of the alphabet. At grades 2-5, lessons are organized in terms of letters with the same shape in their initial strokes. For example, lower-case letters that begin with a “short swoop up” (r, s, j, and p) are taught in the same section. Across grades each letter is represented by a “Harbor Friend” or “Harbor Pal” (i.e., a clipart image of a boy, girl, or animal) and a poem that describes the letter’s formation. Where appropriate, letter sounds and letter identification are integrated with handwriting instruction. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Pearson Texas myView Literacy

New Product Review: Pearson Texas myView Literacy

Learning List recently reviewed Pearson’s Texas myView Literacy, which was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response to the Texas Education Agency’s Proclamation 2019 call for K-8 English language arts and reading (ELAR) products aligned to the new ELAR Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Texas myView Literacy is a comprehensive English language arts and reading product for grades K-5. Content is available in print and digital formats. This review is of online materials only. Instruction is organized using sets of mini-lessons that facilitate flexible instructional planning and a variety of instructional models.

Across grades, myView Literacy is organized in five 6-week units. Each unit addresses a cross-curricular theme focused on an essential question, such as a grade 4 unit titled “Diversity” that integrates social studies topics and asks: “How can we reach new understandings through exploring diversity?” Each unit features a “Spotlight” genre that is the focus of instruction (e.g., informational texts) and includes works from additional genres. Across units, instruction provides a balance of authentic literary and informational texts. Students learn to read different types of content, such as maps, infographics, and timelines. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Pearson’s myPerspectives Texas

New Product Review: Pearson’s myPerspectives Texas

Learning List recently reviewed Pearson’s myPerspectives Texas, which was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response to the Texas Education Agency’s Proclamation 2019 call for K-8 English language arts and reading (ELAR) products aligned to the new ELAR Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). myPerspectives Texas is a comprehensive product that supports English language arts instruction in grades 6-12. Learning List reviewed resources for grades 6-8. Content is available in print and online formats and facilitates instruction in blended learning environments.

myPerspectives Texas is a student-centered program that develops close reading skills and students’ ability to communicate effectively in written and spoken formats. At each grade level, content is organized in five 6-week thematic units (e.g., “Facing Adversity”). As its title suggests, myPerspectives explores authors’ points-of-view and helps students develop their own perspectives. Units present a balance of literary and informational texts and a variety of genres from a range of time periods. Readings have diverse authorship and represent protagonists and themes that reflect a variety of experiences, support inclusion, and facilitate understanding. Instruction provides opportunities for students to respond to non-print texts, such as videos, radio plays, and television interviews. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: The Center for the Collaborative Classroom Collaborative Literacy

New Product Review: The Center for the Collaborative Classroom Collaborative Literacy

Learning List recently reviewed The Center for the Collaborative Classroom’s Collaborative Literacy, which was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response to the Texas Education Agency’s Proclamation 2019 call for K-8 English language arts and reading (ELAR) products aligned to the new ELAR Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Collaborative Literacy is a comprehensive reading/language arts product for grades K-5. Resources are available in print and online formats. Instruction emphasizes the social development of upper-elementary students while building reading, writing, and spelling skills.

At each grade level, Collaborative Literacy is made up of three separate resources that, when used together, support 30 weeks of comprehensive instruction in reading and language arts. Each resource is discussed separately below. [Read more…]

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Adopting New  Materials This Year? Some Food for Thought

Adopting New  Materials This Year? Some Food for Thought
Districts across the country are preparing to adopt new materials this school year. We thought we’d share some important considerations to help you implement an efficient and effective adoption process.  Following are questions to help you define the scope of your adoption:
  • What subjects and grade levels will you be adopting new materials for?
  • Are you adopting the primary material for the subject or a supplemental product?
  • Are you planning to adopt the same material across all grade spans or does each grade span, or even each grade level, have autonomous decision-making?
  • Have you audited your existing materials to identify gaps/deficits (i.e., gaps in alignment, gaps in adaptions)?
  • Have you conducted a needs assessment to help you identify the features that the new materials must have in order to support teaching and learning effectively in your classroom/campus/district over the next several years?  Consider distributing the needs assessment to content area teachers, campus leadership, the district’s curriculum and technology teams, parents and your community to ensure that all end users’ perspectives are considered.The feedback from your needs assessment may not only define what your materials must contain, you may also come away with a list of features that would be nice-to-have in the new materials but are not quite as critical.
  • Have you also considered these other important factors to help you identify which new materials will meet your needs best:
    • Student achievement and demographic trends that may indicate the need for adaptions in the new materials;
    • Teacher experience which could dictate instructional resources the new materials should contain; and,
    • If you will be considering online materials, your campus/district’s technology parameters to ensure that the material you select can be supported in that environment?

This list is not exhaustive; certainly, there are additional questions you could ask/answer to help you define what you are looking for in the new adoption. The answers to these questions can help (a) establish the district’s priorities for the adoption, (b) build the district’s rubric for reviewing materials, and (c) keep selection committee discussions focused on the product features that matter most.

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