Teacher's Toolbox
Oct. 17, 2012

Remember to take advantage of your ITA member discounts
ITA
Love movies? Through the ITA Movie Discount Program, members receive discount admission tickets for numerous national movie theatre chains. Save up to $3 on each movie ticket. The tickets are mailed to your home, so please place your order ahead of when you want to use them.

Love to read? Through the ITA Magazine Discount Program, members receive discounts of up to 50 percent off on over 1,000 periodicals with topics like health, travel, sports and leisure. Provided through ITA's sister association, World Travelers of America, titles include Southern Living, Vogue, Reader's Digest, Good Housekeeping, Newsweek and more.

Be sure to take advantage of all of your ITA Member Benefits. More

3 questions you should ask during a teacher job interview
ITA
by: Jess Onley
Lapsing anywhere between a few minutes to several hours, a teacher job interview can be quite a gauntlet. Unlike a majority of careers, the education interview prides itself on not only ambiguity, but difficulty as well. But what about questions to ask the interviewer?

Even though it may seem to be the first response to believe you survived the teacher job interview, simply by answering questions with accuracy and depth. It is also important to not forget about questions you need to ask. Not only will these questions give a great first impression, but they will also give you a better idea of what you are getting yourself into.More

Giving teachers and administrators an informed voice around the Common Core
District Administration Magazine
When it comes to transitioning to the Common Core, this is not the time for hesitation. There is too much at stake and too much to accomplish in the very short time before the 2014-2015 assessments are administered by SMARTER Balanced and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Of course, no one wants to hurry into a mistake that would be costly. So what do you do if you haven't yet put all of the pieces together to transition to the Common Core State Standards?More

High school teachers share best practices
Sun Journal
One of the most effective ways to grow in any profession is for professionals to share what works best for them. New Bern, N.C., high school teachers — both beginning and experienced — meet once a month to do just that in what is called a best practice professional learning community. Discussions include such topics as best classroom management strategies, activities to sharpen student study skills, and lessons that effectively integrate technology into curriculum delivery.More

Digital wish opens Virtual Volunteer site to match teachers with experts
THE Journal
An organization that promotes the use of technology in the classroom by putting teachers who have specific requests in touch with donors who can help make those wishes come true has launched a new service to link teachers with volunteers. Non-profit Digital Wish now offers "Virtual Volunteers," an area on its website. The new service allows teachers to post classroom projects and ask for a virtual volunteer who can serve via video conference; it also allows volunteers to sign up, describe their various capabilities, and volunteer to help with a class project.More

Financial education: A job for educators or parents?
TIME (commentary)
The idea that teaching kids about money should be left to parents is strictly old school, a recent panel of experts agreed. Personal finance is emerging as a new core subject area for many schools. Policymakers around the world see it as a step toward avoiding the next economic meltdown, and advocates say learning about things like budgets and credit cards is no less important than reading, writing and arithmetic.More

Dispelling the myths about 1:1 environments
Edutopia (commentary)
Andrew Marcinek, a instructional technology specialist, wants to dispel myths about 1:1 environments. His assertions are not based on opinion, but on evidence directly observed in secondary classrooms at Burlington High School in Massachusetts and from the students that traverse these halls daily. The school launched 1,000-plus iPads last year, and they are starting the second year with the device in the hands of all students and teachers. More

How parents and schools can help build kids' emotional strength
MindShift
For parents, the pre-teen and teenage years can be overwhelming, disorienting and puzzling. Students encounter the tangled web of changing hormones, shifting social dynamics, entrée into social media, the desire for greater independence as well as the need for emotional safety. Many parents can feel at a loss as to how to communicate and connect with their child during this period. This is where schools can play a key role. Schools have the data point of hundreds of children over many years, and with the benefit of this broad perspective, can help parents make sense out of the social and emotional issues that come up.More

Teachers make money selling materials online
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
Kristine Nannini spent her summer creating wall charts and student data sheets for her fifth grade class — and making $24,000 online by selling those same materials to other teachers. Teachers like Nannini are making extra money providing materials to their cash-strapped and time-limited colleagues on curriculum sharing sites like teacherspayteachers.com, providing an alternative to more traditional — and generally more expensive — school supply stores. Many districts, teachers and parents say these sites are saving teachers time and money, and giving educators a quick way to make extra income. More

Civic education found lacking in most states
Education Week
The 2012 presidential election and many other state and local races are only a few weeks away, but schools are not doing much to promote student interest in the elections or provide civic education more broadly, says new research. According to a report from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, CIRCLE, only eight states have standardized tests specifically in civics and U.S. government at the high school level, and Ohio and Virginia are the only two that require students to pass them in order to graduate.More

Teaching jobs finally coming back
CNN
After four years of layoffs, teaching jobs are finally coming back. Public school hiring rose this summer to its highest level in six years. But even with the small hiring spurt, it's still not nearly enough to keep up with the growing number of students in American classrooms. "The data suggest that at least we're not shedding a lot of teacher jobs any more. That's a really nice first step, but there's still so much to make up," said Heidi Shierholz, economist with the Economic Policy Institute. More

Studies link students' boredom to stress
Education Week
One glance, and any teacher knows the score: That student, halfway down the row, staring blankly at his tapping pen, fidgeting, sneaking glances at the wall clock roughly every 30 seconds, is practically screaming, "I'm bored!" While boredom is a perennial student complaint, emerging research shows it is more than students' not feeling entertained, but rather a "flavor of stress" that can interfere with their ability to learn and even their health. An international group of researchers argues this month in Perspectives on Psychological Science that the experience of boredom directly connects to a student's inability to focus attention.More

Are new online standardized tests revolutionary? Decide for yourself
The Hechinger Report
New high-tech standardized tests are coming soon to schools across the country, but will these new tests really revolutionize how we measure whether children are learning? The designers of the new tests, which a majority of states plan to adopt in two years, are allowing a sneak peek at sample questions, so you can decide for yourself. Two competing state coalitions have taken on the job of designing the new tests, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and both have posted examples of what's coming on their websites.More

Using photos with English language learners
Edutopia
Though the origin of the popular adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words." is unclear, one thing is clear: Using photos with English language learners can be enormously effective in helping them learn far more than a thousand words — and how to use them. Usable images for lessons can be found online or teachers and students can take and use their own.More

The future of education: Tablets vs. textbooks
Mashable
The federal government, book publishers and the technology industry are considering a large-scale effort to push tablets into public schools, raising questions about hidden costs to implement such a program. Apple, Intel and McGraw Hill representatives and other technology and publishing heavy hitters are working with Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski and Education Secretary Arne Duncan discussion to figure out effective ways to introduce digital technology into the emerging classroom.More

The challenge of assessing project-based learning
District Administration Magazine
Ask high school juniors at Da Vinci Charter Academy in the Davis, Calif., Joint Unified School District, to explain the causes and consequences of war in American history, and you won't get a rote recitation of dates and places. Instead, these students are able to demonstrate their learning by screening the preview for a feature film they produced on the conflict in Afghanistan through the eyes of a young American soldier. They can offer highlights of their interviews with Vietnam veterans, which they contributed to the Library of Congress as primary source material.More

Support from adults and peers lessens the effects of bullying
Medical News Today
A new study identifies social support from adults or peers as an essential buffer to the experience of bullying, and the psychological health of school girls. Previous research suggests that depression can lead to toxic peer relationships, emphasizing the need for adolescents to have concrete relationships with their peers because this can help them adapt to other aspects of life. This study conducted by lead author Dr. Martin Guhn, and published in Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies, also finds that social support from peers, adults, or both, actually decreases the negative results of bullying in school girls, notably, depression and anxiety.More