# New Product Review: TeachTransform Master Fractions

Learning List has reviewed TeachTransform’s Master Fractions. This is a supplemental product that supports mathematics instruction in grades 2-5. Resources are available in print format and are designed for teachers. The text’s blackline masters must be copied for student use. Instruction focuses solely on fractions; other math content is not addressed. At each grade level, Master Fractions provides a variety of activities that help students develop the conceptual understanding needed to master the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) related to fractions.

At each grade level, Master Fractions is organized in sections, or units, made up of lessons that address specific concepts related to fractions. For example, at grade 4, sections address (1) representing and iterating fractions, (2) equivalent fractions, (3) comparing fractions, and (4) adding and subtracting fractions. Instruction emphasizes the use of visual models and simple manipulatives. Content is presented simply in black and white print and is designed for teacher use. [Read more…]

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# New Product Review: ExploreLearning Gizmos

Learning List recently reviewed ExploreLearning’s Gizmos. This supplemental, web-based product supports math and science instruction across grades 3-12. Instruction is inquiry-based. Gizmos are content-specific simulations and virtual manipulatives that provide students with dynamic, hands-on opportunities to explore math and science concepts in fun and meaningful ways.

Across grades, Gizmos are housed in searchable libraries for math and science. Libraries are structured by grade band (e.g. 3-5) and topic. The math library is broadly organized in topics that include: numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis and probability. Each topic includes sub-topics with one or more content-specific simulations (e.g., estimation using a number line). Each sub-topic Gizmo has a short overview of the simulation, learning objectives, a list of new vocabulary, and feedback from the Gizmos’ user community. [Read more…]

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# What Should You Expect From Test Prep Materials?

Over the last five years, we have learned a lot about instructional materials. One observation is that comprehensive and supplemental materials, including RtI and test prep resources, are designed very differently and are intended for different purposes. Another observation is that unless you use a material for its intended purpose, it is unlikely you will achieve the result you need. [Read more…]

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# The Importance of Developing Teachers: Part Two Using Learning List’s Resources to Support Teacher Growth

This is Part Two of a post in response to the recent report Leadership Perspectives on Public Education: The Gallup 2017 Survey of K-12 School District Superintendents.  As discussed in our first post, the superintendents who participated in the Gallup 2017 Survey identified teacher quality as the most important element in student success, but noted the difficulty in hiring talented teachers. In particular, superintendents said that the quantity and quality of new teachers is decreasing and that districts need to become more effective in training teaching staff.

In Part One of this post, we explored how districts can use the resources embedded in instructional materials to support teacher professional development. In this post, we examine how the tools on LearningList.com can facilitate training by enhancing teachers’ understanding of state standards and how standards shape day-to-day instruction.

Learning List features a detailed alignment report for each product we review.  The alignment reports reflect our independent verification of the alignment of citations listed in the publisher’s correlation. In order for Learning List to consider a citation to be aligned to the standard, the citation must address the content, context, and cognitive demand specified in the standard. [Read more…]

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# The Importance of Developing Teachers: Part One Using Instructional Materials to Support Teacher Growth

The new report Leadership Perspectives on Public Education: The Gallup 2017 Survey of K-12 School District Superintendents identifies the key challenges that school leaders believe are facing public education today.  Not surprisingly, superintendents say that quality teachers who can engage students and build excitement about learning are the most critical element in improving student outcomes. However, surveyed superintendents underscored the difficulty of finding talented teachers. The report’s conclusion explains:

Superintendents believe having teachers who create excitement about the future is, more than any other proposed strategy or initiative, extremely important for preparing students for success later in life. But finding enough quality teachers is a difficult task, and superintendents are much less likely to see their district as effective in recruiting new teachers as effective in selecting, developing or retaining them. A majority also see the quantity of new teacher candidates decreasing, and more view the quality of those candidates as decreasing rather than increasing (p. 31). [Read more…]

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