Teach With INFOhio

Quality Instructional Materials from INFOhio: The World Almanac for Kids

Author // Sarah Mowery Friday, 01 October 2021

Quality Instructional Materials from INFOhio

Instructional materials matter and looking closely at the materials you use in your classrooms is important. Every Ohio student deserves the opportunity to learn from high-quality, standards-aligned instructional materials to become a resilient, lifelong learner who contributes to society (Each Child, Our Future).

Studies have shown that using high-quality, coherent curriculums and instructional materials leads to student growth in learning and achievement. We also know that students gain months of learning when teachers use high-quality instructional materials.  

While securing coherent curriculum and professional development for teachers is the first step in ensuring equity in Ohio’s classrooms, identifying high-quality supplemental materials at grade level for all learners can be helpful in increasing student engagement, meeting diverse needs, and filling instructional gaps.

For over 20 years, INFOhio has been providing Ohio schools and districts with quality supplemental resources available at no cost. INFOhio’s resources provide educators and students with premium, vetted content such as eBooks, videos, lesson plans, instructional web tools, and training and support materials that can be used for teaching and learning. When paired with a high-quality curriculum, these resources can provide additional engaging and innovative materials for student growth and achievement and can scaffold student learning if there are gaps.

While the criteria for high-quality instructional materials is broad, key indicators can be applied to materials to determine their effectiveness for student learning. For this Teach With INFOhio blog series, the premium content provided by INFOhio will be shared, highlighted by its

  • Standards alignment/Research-based strategies
  • Inclusive teaching
  • Usability
  • Flexibility and Adaptability

These are the categories of criteria for the RemotEDx Instructional Materials Rubric, developed by INFOhio's Instructional Team in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Education. EdReports' and Achieve's EQuIP rubrics were models for this tool. You can feel secure knowing that using the instructional materials from INFOhio will provide students with the quality materials they need to be successful and grow as learners.

 
The World Almanac for Kids

Through RemotEDx funding, INFOhio is excited to license new resources and expand features with previously licensed resources offering Ohio parents, educators, and students access to quality content. The World Almanac for Kids from Infobase is a reference resource for middle-grade students with research content on the following topics: the arts, biographies, geography, health and guidance, language arts, life science, math, physical science, social studies, and sports.

The World Almanac for Kids provides extensive, up-to-date articles, and cross-curricular coverage of topics for intermediate students. It also includes Homework Help and a robust Teacher Resources section with lessons, printable handouts, critical thinking and assessment activities, trivia challenges, and more. 

Educators can feel secure in using The World Almanac for Kids quality content to supplement curriculums and scaffold learning. Articles, videos, games, science projects, and more meet the criteria set by the RemotEDx Instructional Materials Rubric and support rigor and acceleration in classrooms.

Using the individual criterion and applying its indicators to instructional materials can help you decide what will be the best content to use with your students. Below are some of the criteria and how The World Almanac for Kids aligns with the indicators.

 
Standards Alignment/Research-based Strategies

These criteria and indicators help educators identify instructional materials that are aligned with the rigor of the Ohio Learning Standards and rely on research and scientific thinking for best results in the classroom.

Content Builds on Prior Learning 

The World Almanac for Kids builds background knowledge through a variety of sources including eBooks, videos, short articles, and images. Digital content is sorted by topics and students can easily find information in a variety of formats. Topics are sorted by subtopics, and fun facts, videos, games, and puzzles are curated on the right side of the list of articles to complement that topic. 

 List of subtopics for Our Planet Earth and Rocks.

 

Instructional Approaches Used are Reflective of Best Practices and Research on What Works in Education

Articles and content within World Almanac for Kids are aligned to Ohio Learning Standards. If you click Advanced Search and then Search by Standards, results can be filtered by specific standards.

WAKsearchbystandard 

Once a standard is selected a list of articles that correlate will populate. In this example Ohio 8th grade Science standards were selected and articles, "Energy Today" and "Oceans, Lakes, and Rivers" appear in the search results. 

WAKCorrelations

 

 

 

Inclusive Teaching

Inclusive teaching emphasizes the strategies and practices educators can use in the classroom to leverage the strengths and tools students of color bring for learning. The criteria and indicators for this category focus on how instructional materials recognize, define, and contribute to the growth and understanding of these strengths. 

Content Creates Student Experiences that Enable all Children to Reach Empowering and Rigorous Learning Outcomes Regardless of their Race or Income

The World Almanac for Kids uses multiple approaches to consistently monitor students' understanding of instruction, directions, procedures, processes, questions, and content. Students can learn content through videos, word puzzles, interactive worksheets, articles, learning games, and quizzes. Here is an example of a fast-paced learning game on identifying continents and oceans. 

WAKGame 

Many articles also include a Glossary providing students with content area vocabulary to build a better understanding of the grade-level text. The vocabulary words can be printed for offline access as well. 

WAKGlossary

 

In the Take a Stand Topic Center, multiple perspectives in text and examples encourage students to learn about both sides of an argument. There are 18 debatable topics and each topic provides background information, supporters, and an opponent's side of each argument.

WAKTakeaStand

The Your Turn section puts the topic in students' hands. Two different PDF worksheets are included to help students dig into the topic even further. 

WAKYourTurn

 

Flexibility and Adaptability

The criteria and indicators for this category ensure that instructional materials provide students and educators with what they need for learning in any form—in person, hybrid, blended, or remote. 

Materials are Flexible to Allow Students to Access and Complete Work Online or Offline as Needed

The majority of the content in the material can be saved to be accessed offline. For offline access, articles can be printed, saved, or shared via email.

WAKPrintarticles

Teacher Resources include instructional materials in PDF format that can be printed for student use. Here is an example of a printable handout on the rock cycle. 

WAKRockCycle

Teacher Supports, Documentation, and/or Guides for Effective Use are Present

The Homework Help section provides an explanation of methods or activities to support parents. This section supports parents in helping students with assignments or understanding a content area. Students can also use the Homework Help guides independently to support their own learning. 

WAKHomeworkHelp

 

Digital teacher guides, examples, and/or templates are available for the materials to use in different delivery modes. Teacher resources are provided for different learning environments allowing teachers to print documents or share them with students online. Infobase also provides an Instructional Strategies Toolkit, providing educators with tools and resources to engage students and empower them for success. Topics in the toolkit include embedded librarianship, collaborative learning, and classroom management strategies. 

WAKTeacherResources

In the training and support section of the information page for the World Almanac for Kids, the following has been provided for additional help to teachers, parents, and students when using this resource:

 WAKTrainingandSupport

 
Usability

High-quality instructional materials value accessibility. These criteria and indicators will help determine how well materials meet the needs of all learners.

Materials follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Alternate text or captions are present on images found in articles within the database. The images in each article include captions explaining what readers are seeing in the picture, helping them understand the graphic and content.  Additionally, with text added to the image, a screen reader can read aloud the caption.

WAKCaptionsimages

Captions or transcripts are available on video. Closed Captioning can be turned on or off for every video in the video library. 

WAKCCVideos

 

The Visual Design of Materials is Clean and Coherent, Lending Itself to Ease of Learning

Information is organized on the homepage in a way that is visually appealing and easy to navigate and uses cues and prompts to draw attention to critical features and ideas. At the top of the homepage, there are menu items that include Topics, Videos, Games, and a drop-down menu with additional features called More. Along the right side are icons indicating the different featured areas with the resource including videos, games, science projects, maps, flags, fun facts, and homework help. In the middle of the page is the Featured Topics area that includes an image to represent each topic. 

WAKVisualFrontPage

 

Every article provides a Contents menu, allowing readers to focus on one section of the article at a time. This "chunking" of information into smaller elements is done wherever possible within this resource. 

WAKchunkingcontent

 

 

Try It out in Your Classroom!

The World Almanac for Kids is intended for use by students in grades 6-8. It contains content to support English language arts, math, social studies, health, and the sciences. Try the quality instructional materials available at no cost in your classroom. Be sure to share how #INFOhioWorks for you on social media.

 

Quality Instructional Materials from INFOhio: The World Almanac for Kids

About the Author

Posted by: Sarah Mowery

Sarah Mowery is a Professional Instructional Specialist with INFOhio. She has worked in education for 16 years as a school librarian and technology coach in elementary and middle school settings. While in these roles, she's been an integral part of the building leadership teams working as a curriculum connector and integrating web-based tools. She earned a BA in Sociology from Bowling Green State University and an MLS with a specialization in PK-12 schools from East Carolina University. Sarah was one of the original INFOhio ICoaches when the program first began in 2013 and has a passion for sharing how INFOhio resources can transform teaching and impact learning for students and educators across the state of Ohio. 

Sarah Mowery
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