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Thousands of students opt out of Common Core tests in protest
The Associated Press via PBS Newshour
Thousands of students are opting out of new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core standards, defying the latest attempt by states to improve academic performance. This "opt-out" movement remains scattered but is growing fast in some parts of the country. Some superintendents in New York are reporting that 60 percent or even 70 percent of their students are refusing to sit for the exams. Some lawmakers, sensing a tipping point, are backing the parents and teachers who complain about standardized testing.
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3 simple strategies to increase student engagement
By: Savanna Flakes
One way to increase student engagement is to use structures that illicit a response from all students and provide teachers formative data on student learning. In order to meet a variety of students' needs, educators should work to also incorporate the use of a variety of multiple intelligences in their classrooms. Here are my top three low-tech and low-prep strategies to increase student engagement and provide teachers real-time data to adjust and differentiate instruction. All three assessment strategies are quick, inexpensive and easy to teach.
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Just do it: Fighting ADHD procrastination at school
ADDitude
How can you help students who struggle with procrastination? Initiating a task involves the ability to begin projects without undue procrastination, in an efficient or timely fashion. For instance, a young child with strong executive function can start an assignment immediately after instructions are given. Self-starting high school students won’t put off their least favorite homework assignment until the end of the evening. Starting a task is hard for kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) because their brains are usually stuck in the present, on the right now. They prefer to focus on the most interesting thing in their immediate environment.
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 In the News


Writing strategies for students with ADHD
Edutopia
Too often, students with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) get labeled as "problem students." They often get shuffled into special education programs even if they show no signs of developmental disability. Though these students' brains do work differently, studies prove that it doesn't preclude them from being highly intelligent. That means teachers should pay special attention to help students with ADHD discover their potential and deal with the challenges they face in their learning process.
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Dyslexic children do not detect stressed syllables well while listening to words
Plataforma SINC via Science Daily
Dyslexia is not only a problem related to reading; children with this difficulty also display impaired prosodic processing, in other words, they struggle to detect stressed syllables. A team of researchers has shown this feature to be lacking in dyslexia for the first time in Spanish (it has already been demonstrated in English) and highlights the importance of including oral expression activities, as well as reading, to differentiate tone, word stress and intonation.
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Does Common Core ask too much of kindergarten readers?
MindShift
Sandwiched between preschool and first grade, kindergarteners often start school at very different stages of development depending on their exposure to preschool, home environments and biology. For the first time, the Common Core includes kindergarten in academic standards laying out what students should be able to do by the end of the grade. Kindergartners are expected to know basic phonics and word recognition as well as read beginner texts, skills some childhood development experts argue are developmentally inappropriate. These critics caution that pushing kindergarteners to move too quickly into reading can cause gaps in foundational thinking crucial for strong reading.
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Common Core: What's right for special education students?
CBS News
Nothing lights up 10 year-old Billy Flood's face brighter than when you talk to him about music. The pint-size Beatles fan loves writing his own songs, and playing the keyboard and bass. However, when getting on the topic of Common Core and end-of-the-year testing that light dims a little. "It was kind of a nerve-wracking experience," said Billy, a fifth-grader at a public school in Brooklyn, New York. "I think I was pretty nervous taking the test."
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Schools warned on pushing families into due process
Disability Scoop
Federal education officials are warning school districts to think twice before forcing parents into potentially long and costly due process proceedings. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, families may pursue due process or file a state complaint if they don’t believe their child has been provided appropriate school services. However, in a "Dear Colleague" letter to education leaders across the country, officials at the U.S. Department of Education said this month that they are concerned that some school districts are moving to file for due process over issues that parents have already chosen to address via state complaints.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Fidgeting helps children with ADHD learn, study suggests (Science World Report)
My child struggles with writing: How can we discover the cause? (By: Howard Margolis)
Kids and anxiety: Many theories exist as to why some kids are anxious and others aren't (The Record)
Fresh battles loom when full Senate takes up ESEA rewrite (Education Week)
Senators spar over aid to dyslexic students (Washington Examiner)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.



5 strategies for SPED success with Common Core
Scholastic Administrators Magazine
As the Common Core State Standards have been implemented this school year, with many states in the midst of using the new standardized tests, the transition has been mired in challenges. The Common Core is a critical step toward ensuring students have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life beyond graduation, but teachers and students alike have been apprehensive and overwhelmed. They need greater support, more empathy, and better communication from school and district leaders to help them overcome their anxiety.
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Standing desks can reduce classroom behavior problems
Psych Central
A new study finds students with standing desks are more attentive than their seated counterparts, and, as a bonus, the students burn more calories. Researchers from the Texas A&M School of Public Health found that the standing desks improved classroom attention-engagement by 12 percent, or an extra seven minutes per hour of engaged instruction time. The findings, published in the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, were based on a study of almost 300 children in second through fourth grade who were observed over the course of a school year.
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