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US House votes to roll back sequestration
Education Week
School districts and early-childhood education programs are one step closer to getting some relief from across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, which trimmed about 5 percent of federal K-12 spending this school year. The U.S. House of Representatives approved 332-94 a plan that would roll back the majority of the cuts slated to hit most school districts during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. The agreement, which was written by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will now proceed to the U.S. Senate.
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5 tips to keep kids learning during the holidays
ED.gov Blog (commentary)
Holiday and winter breaks are just weeks away, and while students and teachers will get a well-deserved break from the classroom, it doesn't mean children need to stop learning. Here are a few tips to keep children's minds sharp and challenged during their break, and it might just prevent cabin fever: Ask your child's teacher or search online for worksheets or projects that can be done over the holidays. For 20 to 30 minutes a day, review with your child math concepts, spelling words, or sentence structure. You can also work together in starting a cool science project.
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In plain language: 5 big FAQ's about dyslexia
Psychology Today
Psychologists, cognitive scientists and neuroscientists are unraveling the mysteries of dyslexia. But if you are a parent, teacher or caregiver, it may be hard to read and comprehend the latest research. Here are five important frequently asked questions about dyslexia that cut through the jargon to bring you up to date.
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 In the News


Single-sex classrooms: Educators, students say the change makes a difference
Winston-Salem Journal
A change at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy has shaken up classroom dynamics, even pitting boys against girls in the school's lower grades. Don't worry, though, teachers say. It's all in the spirit of healthy competition, and it's leading to better classroom performance on all fronts. It started when the school adopted a single-gender classroom policy for its middle-school core classes. The change was approved in April and implemented this school year. When classes began in August, Winston-Salem Prep's sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders were divided into two classes of all boys and two classes of all girls for their math, science, language arts and social studies lessons.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Dyslexia linked to brain communication breakdown (Scientific American)
Age of distraction: Why it's crucial for students to learn to focus (MindShift)
How to get students to love reading (Edudemic)
Inclusion on 'Nation's Report Card' goes up, but achievement gaps stay wide (Education Week)
Special educators strained by budget cuts (Disability Scoop)

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School districts face Common Core test tech requirements
U.S. News & World Report
If you're reading this, you're connected to the Internet. It's a connection many people take for granted in the age of tablets, smartphones and Wi-Fi-enabled televisions. Users expect Web pages to load swiftly and videos to stream seamlessly. A strong digital connection is a luxury not found in most high schools, though. In fact, 72 percent of U.S. public schools lack the broadband connection needed to sustain digital learning, according to EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit group.
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Sounds are sound among dyslexics, but access may lag, study finds
Los Angeles Times
A faulty connection between where the brain stores the auditory building blocks of language and where it processes them may be to blame for dyslexia, a new study suggests. The findings represent the first neuroanatomical evidence that the vexing spelling and reading disorder striking people who otherwise can speak a language fluently lies in a connectivity problem in the brain's white matter, where nerve fibers relay electrochemical signals.
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US girls perform evenly with boys in math and science, PISA data show
Education Week
Liana Heitin, a contributor for Education Week, writes: "There's still a mountain of PISA data to dig into (with caveats in mind, of course). But one piece I've found particularly compelling is that, in the United States, there was no statistical difference between boys' and girls' scores in either math or science. In many other countries, the 2012 OECD report notes, 'marked gender differences in mathematics performance — in favour of boys — are observed.' Three years ago, American boys outperformed girls in math on PISA; their science scores were similar."
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FEATURED ARTICLE
TRENDING ARTICLE
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In plain language: 5 big FAQ's about dyslexia
Psychology Today
Psychologists, cognitive scientists and neuroscientists are unraveling the mysteries of dyslexia. But if you are a parent, teacher or caregiver, it may be hard to read and comprehend the latest research. Here are five important frequently asked questions about dyslexia that cut through the jargon to bring you up to date.

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Common Core's promise collides with IEP realities
Education Week
One of the most promising elements of common academic standards for students with disabilities, say experts in special education, is that they offer explicit connections from one set of skills to another.

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Study: MRI might allow earlier diagnosis of dyslexia
HealthDay News
Brain scans may help diagnose people with the common reading disorder dyslexia, a new study reveals. MRI scans in 40 kindergarten children revealed a link between poor pre-reading skills and the size of a structure that connects two language-processing areas in the brain, the researchers said.

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Will music make a child smarter?
HealthDay News via WebMD
If Johnny doesn't take to the violin, don't fret. A new study challenges the widely held belief that music lessons can help boost children's intelligence. "More than 80 percent of American adults think that music improves children's grades or intelligence," study author Samuel Mehr, a graduate student in the School of Education at Harvard University, said in a university news release. "Even in the scientific community, there's a general belief that music is important for these extrinsic reasons — but there is very little evidence supporting the idea that music classes enhance children's [mental] development," he noted. In this study, Mehr and his colleagues randomly assigned 4-year-old children to receive instruction in either music or visual arts.
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6 ways to honor the learning process in the classroom
Edutopia (commentary)
Terry Heick, a contributor for Edutopia, writes: "Roughly put, learning is really just a growth in awareness. The transition from not knowing to knowing is part of it, but that's really too simple because it misses all the degrees of knowing and not knowing. One can't ever really, truly understand something any more than a shrub can stay trimmed. There's always growth or decay, changing contexts or conditions. Understanding is the same way. It's fluid."
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Peer solicitation can improve reciprocal social interaction among children with autism
News-Medical.Net
Peer solicitation — a child inviting another to play — can improve reciprocal social interaction among children with autism, according to a Vanderbilt University study released today in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Researchers studied playground interactions between children with autism and typically developing peers and found the two groups play similarly when engaged in independent play with kids they just met. While the children with autism initiated and engaged in less play overall than typically developing children, the researchers found that other children can facilitate and increase interactions by simple requests.
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