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Books & Materials Winners: Advancing Professional Learning and Assessment

These books and materials are helping educators teach more effectively.

Readers nominated various books and classroom materials, including professional development resources, electronic learning devices, assessments and intervention programs. In particular, readers noted that professional learning books and resources such as those from Corwin Press, Solution Tree and ISTE have been crucial to the successful implementation of education technology products, and assessments from CT B/McGraw-Hill and the Developmental Math Group have helped many districts gauge the effectiveness of classroom instruction.

The winners are:

Corwin Press

Keys to Curriculum Mapping Kit

Professional Development Materials, $299

The Keys to Curriculum Mapping kit is designed around Susan Udelhofen’s best-selling book of the same name and includes a 44-minute VHS videotape, DVD, facilitator’s guide, and companion books. Topics include understanding the role of curriculum mapping, promoting staff development, matching teaching to assessment, adapting curriculum mapping to support other school-based programs, and how curriculum mapping helps to meet No Child Left Behind mandates.



Exam Preparation and Assessment Materials, Pricing varies

Acuity is a formative assessment system that includes a variety of tools to help educators improve student achievement: classroom-friendly assessments, insightful reports, and engaging instruction designed for math (including algebra) and reading for grades 3-8. Available online or in paper-andpencil versions, Acuity aligns to state standards and delivers targeted instructional content to help prepare students for NCLB exams.

Developmental Math Group

Developmental Math Assessment, $139

The Developmental Math Assessment is a classroom-based pre-K2 mathematics tool. The DMA helps classroom teachers make important instructional decisions through guided procedures to assess student progress in current standards in prenumber concepts, number concepts, operations, and other foundational math concepts. Each kit includes a teacher’s guide, blackline masters for assessment, number concept dots, an activity card book, and a dry erase board and marker.

Hamilton Electronics

Study Buddy

Study Aid, $69.75

The Study Buddy allows educators and students to record and play practice lessons with the ease of one-touch operation. Using the battery-operated interactive Study Buddy, educators can create a lesson in minutes for individuals or small groups. Using dry erase pens, photographs, and other graphics, including artwork on reusable electronic cards, educators can also record an accompanying voice instruction that is unique for each study card.

International Society for Technology in Education

Transforming Classroom Practice: Professional Development Strategies in Educational Technology


Edited by professors of education Arlene Borthwick and Melissa Pierson, this book provides an overview of professional development programs that have demonstrated long-term success in implementing technology into curricula. The models described explore approaches that expand educators’ knowledge, skill and confidence in using technology tools in teaching and learning environments, and they include discussions of program planning, lessons to be learned, implementation and assessment.

Leapfrog Enterprises

Leapster 2

Educational Game System, $69.99

The Leapster 2 is the next generation of Leapfrog’s award-winning handheld educational gaming platform, and it expands upon the original with new features. The Leapster 2 can access online content with Leapfrog Connect software, enabling students to upload artwork they have created on the device to store and share over the Web, or to download new titles. The new model is also backward compatible, so students can play any of the more than 30 educational titles already available from Leapfrog.


Early Simple Machines Set III

Science Kit, $99.95

While working in teams of two or three with Early Simple Machines Set III, elementary students can explore energy, buoyancy and balance by manipulating simple models of seesaws, rolling vehicles, spinning tops and rafts, and by using wheels, axles, pulleys, levers and gears. The kit comes with a set of color activity cards with pictorial instructions for eight different models, a plastic punch-out sheet with eyes, sails, scales and wings, and a plastic bin for easy cleanup and storage.


Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns


Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen applies his concept of “disruptive innovation” described in his previous book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, toward a vision for reforming the American educational system. The book describes the disruptive innovations that can solve the flaws in American education: computer-based learning initiatives, student-centered classrooms, customized learning, and a new business system to support such innovations, all with the implementation of technology as a primary focus.

Northwest Evaluation Association

MAP for Primary Grades

Assessment Program, $13.50 per student

The NWEA has expanded its successful MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) assessment series with the recent addition of MAP for Primary Grades, intended for K2 students. Features of this computerized assessment system include early literacy and early numeracy screening (diagnostic) tests, skills checklist (diagnostic) tests, and survey with goals (adaptive) tests in reading and mathematics.


AP Launcher

Rocket Kit, $275

Pitsco’s air-powered launcher and rocket provide an intermediate activity for aerospace curricula that is safe and relevant. Powered by a pressurized bottle, the launcher sends tube rockets 100 feet or more into the air while launched at an angle. Featuring an adjustable launch from 0 to 90 degrees, students can experiment with angle, pressure and range using the included tripod and a tire pump.

Solution Tree

Revisiting Professional Learning Communities at Work: New Insights for Improving Schools, $34.95

This 10th-anniversary sequel to Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement provides clearer insights regarding the transition from traditional schools to professional learning communities. The authors respond to the work of educators who have unsuccessfully tried to implement or have misunderstood “PLC at Work” concepts and examine organizational development, change processes, leadership and successful practices outside of education to offer fresh perspectives.

Voyager Learning

Voyager Passport

Reading Intervention Program, $1,439

Voyager Learning’s Passport reading intervention system strengthens core K5 reading programs. It provides students with 30 to 45 minutes of daily, targeted intervention, with instruction in each of the essential reading components, including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Students are assessed three times annually, and the program also features Ticket to Read, a Web site that uses a reward system to promote reading practice at home and school.

Wright Group/McGraw-Hill

eSuite for Everyday Mathematics

Online Supplement, $336 annually per class

Wright Group/McGraw-Hill has created new online tools for Everyday Mathematics, the third edition of which offers more support for learning differences, extra help for English Language Learners, enhanced assessment, and new support for pre-K and kindergarten classrooms. The new eSuite also provides online tools to assist teachers in planning, monitoring students’ performance, and improving their school-home connection.