The LD Source
Sep. 11, 2014

Big year looms for Common Core testing
Education Week
For four years, schools in nearly every state have been working to put the Common Core State Standards into practice in classrooms, but few have put them to the test — literally. This year, that changes. The 2014-2015 academic year is when nearly every state must have assessments in place to reflect the common core, or other "college- and career-ready" standards they have adopted. And unlike last year, when many states were allowed to cut back on their regular tests because they were field-testing new assessments, this year's achievement results will be a cornerstone of states' public accountability reporting.More

Promoting positive parent-teacher communication
By: Brian Stack
Ask teachers what they wish they had more time to dedicate to in their job, and better communication with parents will almost always be at the top of their list. The reality is that teachers want parents to be informed. But once the school year gets going, parent communication often takes a back seat. Teachers quickly fall into the habit of calling home only when they have bad news to report, and that makes for an unhealthy relationship between parents and teachers.More

One student's dyslexia changed how a community viewed learning
PBS Newshour
When Liz Woody's son Mason was in third grade, he struggled to read basic words. After Woody moved Mason to a specialized school, she set out to transform techniques to reach struggling readers. John Tulenko of Learning Matters has the story.More

How 'productive struggle' can lead to deeper learning
eSchool News
The new school year provides opportunities to implement fresh learning strategies in the classroom. Some students might struggle getting back into the rhythm of the school year, and others might experience long-term challenges. To address these needs, consider developing a curriculum that emphasizes "productive struggle." Here's what you'll need to know about making it work in the classroom.More

Exercise helps children with ADHD in study
The Wall Street Journal
Researchers seeking alternatives to the use of drugs to treat ADHD in children are taking a closer look at exercise as a prescription. A recent study found regular, half-hour sessions of aerobic activity before school helped young children with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder become more attentive and less moody. Other research found a single bout of exercise improved students' attention and academic skills.More

Music lessons enhance brain function in disadvantaged kids
Pacific Standard
There is much evidence that poverty, and the chronic stress it creates, hinders the development of young brains. However, new research finds one important aspect of neural functioning is gradually strengthened when underprivileged children engage in a challenging but fun activity: Music lessons. A newly published study of six- to 9-year-olds living in gang-infested areas of Los Angeles finds those who spent two years participating in a free music-instruction program processed the sound of certain syllables more rapidly than their peers with less musical training.More

Which states' kids miss the most school?
Mother Jones
September is upon us, and American kids are filling up their backpacks. But lots of kids won't be going back to school — at least not very much. A national report by nonprofit Attendance Works presents a map that zooms in on a statistic called "chronic absenteeism," generally defined as the number of kids who miss at least 10 percent of school days over the course of a year. The measure has become popular among education reformers over the past few years because unlike other measures like average daily attendance or truancy, chronic absenteeism focuses on the specific kids who are regularly missing instructional time, regardless of the reason why or the overall performance of the school.More

How to get students to work harder
The Atlantic
Over the past five years, more than $200 million has gone toward launching the new Common Core standards, with the goal of closing achievement gaps in public schools. But for all their meticulous detail about math and language curricula, the standards fail to address one important factor: the psychological barriers that stand between many students and deeper learning. Unless students are motivated to take on the new standards, and persuaded that they're up to the challenge, the Common Core could have the unintended effect of leaving many students even further behind.More

Why learning space matters
Edutopia
From the front door and school grounds to the classroom, the aesthetics of learning spaces impact brain function and influence how students feel when they're in school — as well as how they feel about their school. Neuroscience continues to inform us about how the brain functions and what this means for effective teaching and, more importantly, effective learning.More

Why kids should choose their own books to read in school
The Washington Post (commentary)
At one time many public schools gave students time to read books of their own choosing, an activity based on the common-sense theory that kids will read what interests them, and that kids who can choose what they read will learn to enjoying reading, and, hence, read more. Unfortunately, many schools no longer let students choose any of the materials that they read. Why this is a problem is explained in this post by Joanne Yatvin, a one time Principal of the Year in Wisconsin and a past president of the National Council of Teachers of English, who has never been able to kick the reading habit.More

Recess redress: The importance of play in education
By: Suzanne Mason
Ask any child what his or her favorite subject is in school, and most will say recess. Yet a recent Gallup poll conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that up to 40 percent of U.S. school districts have reduced or eliminated recess to focus more on academics. Despite these changes, recess still remains an important part of a child's education. In fact, a new study by the University of Lethbridge in Canada showed that free play can help with the core essentials for development in the brain.More