Factors to Consider: IM Selection Process

Why Teachers Need More Planning Time

Why Teachers Need More Planning Time

This article discusses “Four Ways State Leaders Can Help Teachers Implement High Quality Curriculum.” One of the author’s suggestions is that leaders provide time and space for educators to plan. One of the reasons educators need more planning time is that online preK-12 materials have become increasingly complex to use. Here’s why.

Learning List reviewers have reviewed thousands of PreK-12 instructional materials. Our team is adept at learning how to navigate through online materials. These days, reviewing online materials is taking longer because materials often consist of different components to remediate, enrich and extend students’ learning.  Sometimes, each component uses a different online platform; more commonly, the assessments component uses a different platform from the material’s instructional components.  Thus, merely learning how to navigate through online materials takes longer than it used to.

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A Seismic Shift in Science Materials

Over the last several years, we have reviewed hundreds of science materials aligned to state standards, Advanced Placement frameworks, and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Over the last two years, we have observed a significant design shift in science products. Using the 5E model and Project Based Learning (PBL), publishers are designing science instruction to engage students in doing science, rather than learning about science. Where traditional instructional materials might present information and ask students to respond through short-answer or multiple-choice questions, newer materials provide teachers with resources to facilitate inquiry-based science instruction. 

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Dear Mom and Dad, Welcome to Your 1st Year of Teaching!

Dear Mom and Dad, Welcome to Your 1st Year of Teaching!

Are you a first-time homeschool teacher or are you proctoring at-home learning while your child is attending school online this semester? Either way, you are likely out of your comfort zone and feeling (a little) overwhelmed. How are you ensuring that your child is learning what he/she is supposed to learn?  This blog post provides a few pointers and accompanying resources to help you keep your child on track during this school year.  

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Selecting Materials to Support Differentiated Instruction

As this school year resumes, teachers are going to need to differentiate and accelerate instruction to ensure that students are ready for their new grade level’s content. Whether you are selecting from your district/campus’ existing materials or purchasing new materials, we offer the following questions to help you identify materials that will support teachers in differentiating instruction to meet the needs of their students.

(1) Do the resources offer differentiated planning support for teachers?
Teachers need resources that will help them differentiate instruction to meet their students’ varied learning needs while simultaneously implementing the district curriculum. Here are three features to look for in teacher materials to support teachers in planning differentiated instruction.

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Save Time & Money: Read Reviews

Save Time & Money: Read Reviews

Yesterday, my husband and I were discussing how to clean the exterior windows of our house. The house sits on the side of a hill, so many of the windows are too far off the ground to reach. I suggested standing on a ladder and cleaning them. But, given that we’re both short people, my husband thought that was a very bad idea.  

So, I researched options online and discovered a spray solution that involves a plastic canister, garden hose and “specially formulated crystals” to wash exterior windows. I showed my husband the ad, and he immediately said, “Great, buy it.” The product cost between $10 and $31, depending on the seller. 

However, I run a company that reviews PreK-12 instructional materials. I believe in and have avoided many expensive mistakes by reading product reviews. So, I started reading the online reviews. After five minutes, I realized that this product was not worth our time or money. I showed him the reviews, and he agreed. We saved $31. 

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When Selecting Materials, Relying on Numbers Is Not Enough

At Learning List, we are often asked, “Which material is the best?” While some organizations rank and/or rate materials, we do not. We do not sum a review up in a number or set of numbers or tell you which materials will be best for your students, because many variables affect the efficacy of a material. For example, how the material will be used, whether the material has the adaptions your students need and whether the district’s technology will support the full implementation of the product are all variables that affect which product is “best” for your students.

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