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As 2014 comes to a close, NAESP would like to wish its members, partners and other industry professionals a safe and happy holiday season. As we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of NAESP's Before the Bell, a look at the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume Tuesday, Jan. 6.


Parental involvement in schools: How much is enough?
By: Brian Stack
From April 22: In a school near you, an elementary school principal is asked to predict which adults will have the greatest impact on a child's educational success later in life. Most would place parents very high on that list. It is no surprise that parental involvement is significant in many elementary schools. Most have strong PTA or PTO clubs that organize parent volunteers for work in the classroom, the playground and on school trips. These groups plan silent auctions, BINGO nights and pancake breakfasts to help school programs.
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Drilling down: Audio-lingual method can help
By: Eva Sullivan
From Nov. 14: This fall, my high school ESOL classes have been particularly challenging. My newcomer students are struggling to adapt to their new cultural and language environment, and my advanced students are struggling to master new curriculum materials that align with Common Core. That leaves me in the middle, stressed about how to deliver the best instruction, given the enormous time constraints imposed by my school schedule. The bell rings every 50 minutes, and I've got a new class coming in. How can I cover the curriculum and allow sufficient time to practice a skill?
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Holidays vs. standards: Which curriculum rules your school?
By: Thomas Van Soelen
From Oct. 31: I remember that in elementary schools 30 years ago, the year was chronologically marked by holidays. We started with a summer story, then a scarecrow or scary story, followed by a turkey story and ending the year with something about a snowman. The new year would offer a change of pace with nonfiction text, then it was back to narratives: Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and Easter bunnies. But in the age of Common Core and far more rigorous standards, are we still allowing the hidden curriculum of holidays and seasons to run the show?
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Size matters: Smaller classes spark better learning
By: Archita Datta Majumdar
From June 13: The move to reduce class size and bring about higher-quality education is a not new one, but it has gained new momentum with a new study. Research by Australian educator David Zyngier shows that there can be significant difference in student performance with a smaller class size. Zyngier analyzed 112 peer-reviewed studies from 1979-2014 to prove how the size of the class can narrow the achievement gap. With smaller classes, teachers can be less occupied with maintaining discipline, and can instead focus on the individual growth of their students.
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How bullying may physically alter our developing brains
By: Dorothy L. Tengler
From Nov. 21: It's no mystery that the brain develops before birth and continues throughout adulthood. But we may not have considered that brain development is analogous to building a house: laying the foundation, framing the rooms and installing electrical wiring. Obviously, laying a solid foundation builds a strong brain structure, while a weak foundation creates a faulty structure. At birth, we are born with billions of neurons, the same number as adults. These specialized cells have to be connected or "wired" to form circuits to control different functions from basic to biological ones.
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Teaching learning strategies to ELLs: What, why, when, how
By: Erick Herrmann
From Nov. 28: "Learning how to learn" is one of many goals educators have for their students. In fact, in a world where we cannot predict the jobs and work of the future, the act of learning, unlearning old ways of doing things and relearning new ways, is a 21st-century skill that is gaining increasing importance. The constantly changing landscape of technological advances in the workforce causes us to adapt ways of doing things on a seemingly daily basis.
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The hidden victims of Ferguson are the children
By: Danielle Wegert
From Sept. 2: Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old man, was shot and killed by a police officer on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri. To everyone outside of Ferguson, the images of riots, damaged businesses and police officers standing in front of military-style vehicles with weapons drawn was everything. Ferguson and the surrounding areas were a place of chaos and violence. What about the citizens not on the streets? What about the children? Not every resident of Ferguson was rioting, but they were forgotten
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    1. WHICH ONE IS YOU?
       A. I have to push students through the basic language art skills.
       B. I have to teach what comes along even if students cannot understand it.
       C. I "Rescue" my students by using a structured and sequential approach that
           enhances any reading, spelling, penmanship, and composition curriculum
           including Common Core expectations.


Inclusion Corner: Begin with co-planning
By: Savanna Flakes
From Oct. 21: Co-teaching implemented with fidelity has a profound impact on a range of learners with and without disabilities from a variety of cultures. Co-teaching is often characterized as a "marriage" between a general education and a specialist. Formally defined, co-teaching is two or more educators sharing responsibility for teaching some or all of the students assigned to a classroom. According to Marilyn Friend and Lynne Cook, it involves the distribution of responsibility among people for planning, instruction and evaluation for a classroom of students.
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Key considerations for mainstream teachers of newcomer ELLs
By: Holly Hansen-Thomas
From Nov. 7: Content-area specialist teachers new to ELLs might experience something of a shock the first time a student who speaks not a word of English is placed in the class. Mainstream teachers should seek out high-quality professional development opportunities that focus on sheltering and differentiating instruction, understanding sociocultural and linguistic concepts, and learning the theoretical foundations of second language acquisition. They should also understand that the following notions must be at the forefront of planning and teaching newcomers.
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Easy conversational activities for teaching pronunciation
By: Douglas Magrath
From Sept. 30: The perfection of pronunciation is an ongoing process in any language-learning situation. Both problems with grammar and accent can interfere with communication. The instructor can intervene and help the learners improve their pronunciation through skill-building exercises. This article offers a few suggestions to ESL instructors for teaching pronunciation using mainly interactive conversational activities.
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STEM education growing, but still has room for improvement
By: Suzanne Mason
From July 4: The revival of interest in STEM education started with the national Educate to Innovate campaign in 2009. The campaign is designed to bring American students to competitive ranks with their international counterparts when it comes to the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Educators, organizations and the federal government have all taken steps to spark interest in both STEM education and careers. Five years later, the revival of STEM education is still in its infant steps, and it still has room to grow in both diversity and innovation.
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Instructional issues affecting the development of reading skills
By: Dale King
From Dec. 12: There is often a long and winding road to reading success for students with learning disabilities. Competent teachers of reading know and understand the five components of reading, why each needs to be explicitly addressed in instruction in a systematic and sequential manner, and how to provide these types of instruction while both encouraging and monitoring a student's progress. In addition, instruction needs to be ongoing and scheduled frequently enough to foster learning.
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Is the resource room a waste of time?
By: Pamela Hill
From Sept. 26: Recently, I read a Facebook entry written by a parent of a student with learning disabilities. The parent said, "The resource room is a waste of time for my child." The comment took me aback. I began to wonder if my work with students was a waste of time. I thought about my resource room and the students I have served there. I questioned the curriculum and teaching methods I have chosen and used. I thought about the years that some students spent in the resource room, as well as the students who have been successful and left special education and my resource room. I decided that I agreed with the parent.
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An elegant solution for middle schoolers with suicidal thoughts
By: Nancy Gahles
From Nov. 25: Early adolescence is a time of tempestuous changes in physical, mental, emotional and social spheres. It is a time when peer pressure abounds. But peer pressure is only one area of challenge during middle school. There are many others that beset the growing adolescent and, when left to their own devices, young teens may devise harmful coping strategies. An elegant solution has emerged in response to a recent study co-funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
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Fusing language acquisition with approaches to teaching music
By: Beth Crumpler
From Oct. 31: Most language teachers will agree that songs and chants help students master another language. In addition, language teachers will agree that using movement and hands-on learning experiences, such as in total physical response strategies, also help students acquire language. Just like language teaching, music teaching includes approaches the utilize movement and communication. The two most common approaches to music instruction are the Kodaly and Orff methods, they have similarities to language instructional approaches.
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Before the Bell is a benefit of your membership in the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). For information about other member benefits, visit www.naesp.org or contact us at naesp@naesp.org.

Before the Bell is a digest of the most important news selected for NAESP from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiBriefs, an independent organization that also manages and sells advertising. The presence of such advertising does not endorse, or imply endorsement of, any products or services by NAESP. Neither NAESP nor Multiview is liable for the use of or reliance on any information contained in this briefing.

Feedback about an article? Contact NAESP Liaison Meredith Barnett at MBarnett@naesp.org.
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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