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Text Version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit February 17, 2015

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Are iPads the solution to snow days?
The Atlantic
As many states dig out from yet another winter storm, school districts are struggling to keep the academic calendar — and student learning — from being derailed as a result of record numbers of snow days. But educators are increasingly using technology to turn campus closures into opportunities for students to complete academic assignments on their own. In Farmington, Minnesota, a pilot program for "flexible learning time" in the local public schools got its first large-scale test last year when the "Polar Vortex" pummeled the Midwest.
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Technology takes hold in the early grades
EdSource
Whether solving math puzzles to help a penguin waddle across a computer screen or sounding out words in Mr. Sounders' virtual classroom, K-2 students are increasingly embracing technology in California schools. Mixing academic software programs with traditional classroom instruction — often referred to as blended learning — is moving from high schools and middle schools to the early grades, even reaching some 4-year-olds in transitional kindergarten. Teachers say the programs they are using adapt to the young students' needs and give teachers time to delve more deeply into the reading and math concepts required under the Common Core State Standards.
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The 4 C's of 21st century learning for ELLs: Communication
By: Erick Herrmann
In the first part of this series, we explored critical thinking as an important skill that students will need to master in the 21st century. The jobs of tomorrow are unknown today, and while the world is changing quickly, it is also shrinking. Small and large companies alike are building global teams, selling services and products all over the world. Global communication is instantaneous. Given this, tomorrow's workforce will need to be skilled in communication, the second of the four C's of 21st century skills explored in this series.
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The power of observation
By: Pamela Hill
How do we know that a student is learning? What behaviors must they demonstrate for the teacher to draw the conclusion that the student has learned? Who determines learning? The teacher, the curriculum and the standards do. The current measure of learning is assessment. The student must indicate what they know by answering questions in a test format. However, there is a piece missing that is important to determine if a student has learned and is learning.
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With Common Core testing, you get what you pay for
Marketplace
Think "standardized test," and you might picture kids sitting at their desks filling in bubbles with No. 2 pencils or a Scantron machine cranking out scores. It's time to update that picture. This spring, millions of kids around the country will take a whole new kind of computer-based test aligned to the Common Core state standards. They'll be able to use online tools like highlighters and calculators. They'll be asked to "drag and drop" their answers into boxes and to respond to video.
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'Fraction phobia': The root of math anxiety?
Education Week
Liana Heitin, a contributor for Education Week, writes: "Over the past year, since I took over the common-core math beat, I've been thinking a lot about fractions. As I wrote in November, the Common Core State Standards for mathematics emphasize fractions as points on a number line, rather than just parts of a whole. Now, more teachers are pinning numbers to clotheslines to demonstrate fractions rather than divvying pizzas and fruit pies. Many experts have called this the biggest shift from previous state standards in math."
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Teachers mixed on Common Core, support blended learning
THE Journal
More than nine out of 10 teachers in America report using technology in the classroom. Two-thirds said they support the idea of a blended classroom, where students spend part of the school day working with a teacher and part working on a computer. A similar number of teachers said they like the idea of requiring students to take at least one online course before they graduate.
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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
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The 9 essentials of crowdfunding for the classroom
eSchool News
As funding for public education continues to decline, districts, administrators and classroom teachers struggle to find ways to fill gaps left by budget cuts. Traditional school fundraising methods, such as gift wrap sales, are time intensive and often only raise a small amount of capital. Fortunately, the advent of the internet has created new fundraising opportunities for schools and educators. One such fundraising mechanism crowdfunding — uses the collective power of individual donors who are united in support of a common cause or goal. It's been used successfully by movie producers, startup founders, and others with a truly great idea. Teachers are discovering it, too. In the classroom, crowdfunding can be used to fund exciting projects, purchase technology or supplement resources.
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Redefining teachers with a 21st century education 'story'
MindShift
The world's top performing organizations achieve their goals by offering a rich blend of culture, work, and engagement that deeply enrolls employees in the mission and purpose of the organization, attracts highly motivated, committed individuals to join a rewarding social network, and infuses the journey to success with joy and passion. That results in innovation, creativity, and a personal desire to contribute to systematic improvement. Overall, employees become part of a "story" that enrolls them in a cause and brings out their best talents.
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9 IT best practices for BYOD districts
THE Journal
Allowing students to bring their own devices into the classroom is a relatively new concept to many U.S. school districts. BYOD can help personalize learning by letting students work on devices that they are very familiar with, but it also creates some key challenges for the IT professionals who have to balance the need for computing power with the resources provided by their districts. Here, a handful of district technology heads discuss their BYOD best practices and suggest how others might adopt them.
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Students struggle to hear teacher in new fad open-plan classroom
Phys.org
Many of us would remember our days in primary school sitting in a classroom with four walls, among 20 to 30 other students, and a teacher instructing us from the front. Recently, some schools have been converting classrooms to more open-plan environments, where several classes share the same space. Classes are still divided into classes of 20-30 students with their own teacher, but all of these classes are in the same room with no walls separating them, which results in 50, 90 or even 200 children in the one area.
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When a school gets a bad report card
NPR
Students aren't the only ones getting report cards these days. More than a dozen states now grade their public schools using the traditional A through F system. North Carolina is the latest to try it, and most of its high-poverty schools received D's and F's from the state education agency. At Allen Middle School in Greensboro, N.C., nearly every student gets free or reduced-price meals. Between classes, preteens roam the bright hallways that are lined with inspirational quotes.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords CLASSROOMS.


School recess offers benefits to student well-being, educator reports
Phys.Org
A high-quality recess program can help students feel more engaged, safer and positive about the school day, according to Stanford research. In fact, recess can yield numerous benefits to an elementary school's overall climate, said Milbrey McLaughlin, the David Jacks Professor of Education and Public Policy, Emerita, founding director of Stanford's John W. Gardner Center, and a co-author of the journal article.
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President's 2016 budget proposal could revive EETT program
EdTech Magazine
President Barack Obama's proposed 2016 budget allots $200 million to revive a program that helps school districts gain a stronger footing in an increasingly digital world. Under the revamped Enhancing Education Through Technology program, states would provide educational technology grants to local model school districts to make sure educators "have the skills and tools to use technology effectively to improve instruction and personalize learning," according to the U.S. Education Department's Office of Educational Technology website.
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House lawmakers push 'No Child' overhaul forward
U.S. News & World Report
The House Education and the Workforce Committee has passed a bill to reauthorize the long-outdated No Child Left Behind Act, despite strong objections from Democratic committee members, the Obama administration and dozens of education advocacy groups. The bill, dubbed the Student Success Act, passed on a party-line vote (21-16). It would significantly scale back the role of the federal government in overseeing public education, give states more flexibility in designing accountability systems and consolidate dozens of federal education programs.
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Duncan in weaker spot on NCLB waiver renewals
Education Week
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is entering negotiations with states on renewal of their No Child Left Behind Act waivers with a weakened hand, and may find it hard to hold their feet to the fire on key Obama administration priorities. Chief among them: testing, accountability and the requirement for teacher-evaluation systems that take student outcomes into account.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Should we stop making kids memorize times tables? (The Hechinger Report)
Gifted and talented programs dumb down our students (Time)
Playing with math: How math circles bring learners together for fun (MindShift)
Glimmer of hope in 8-year battle to replace No Child Left Behind (The Christian Science Monitor)
How spelling keeps kids from learning (The Atlantic)

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


115 education groups: GOP No Child Left Behind legislation is vastly underfunded
The Washington Post
The Republican-dominated House education committee just approved legislation, H.R. 5, that is a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act with funding levels that critics say are inadequate to properly support K-12 public education. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate's education committee, has released draft legislation that has been hit as well by critics who say the funding levels are below the fiscal 2012 pre-sequestration total and would harm efforts to improve student achievement.
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Why some school principals in Florida still spank students
The Huffington Post
Corporal punishment is ineffective and should be banned, according to a new report that studied the use of physical discipline in Florida school districts. In the study, "Corporal Punishment In Florida Schools," University of Florida researchers examine which students are most likely to face this form of discipline, why school administrators say they choose to physically discipline students and what research says about the impact of this type of punishment.
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Connect, celebrate and collaborate with Twitter
NAESP
Michelle Hughes and Jane Wilson write: "Social media and mobile technology continue to change the way people communicate and share information. It's a best practice for schools to use Twitter to create an online Professional Learning Community. Using Twitter, principals and teachers can offer frequent, yet brief, words of connection, celebration, and collaboration to build morale and strengthen communications within a school community."
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Black History Month and the elementary school principal
NAESP
Principal Baruti Kafele writes: "It's that time of the year again: Black History Month. In schools across the U.S., this is the time we teach about, read books about, write book reports about and put on performances about famous African American. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with this, there is so much more that can and must be done in our recognition of Black History Month; particularly within the context of today's racial climate across the U.S."
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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.

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