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How community violence hurts students
The Atlantic
When the "D.C. Sniper" John Allen Muhammad and his then-teenage accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo went on a three-week shooting spree back in 2002, their bloody rampage did more than leave a trail of victims and spread panic throughout the capital region. The Beltway sniper attacks also hurt math and reading scores at elementary and middle schools in Virginia that were in close proximity to the shootings, according to a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. What's more, the schools where performance worsened the most were those serving the largest populations of disadvantaged students.
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Why tweens and teens need a vacation from technology
By: Corinne Garcia
Technology is fully ingrained in our busy lives, and even more so in the lives of tweens and teens. Think about it: If it weren't for time spent in the classroom, students in the tween and teen years could easily fill the day without looking up from their handheld devices. They text instead of talk, keep up with friends through Instagram and SnapChat, and do most of their schoolwork in front of a computer. And then there's the entertainment: a series on Netflix, video games and streaming music.
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Cutting to the Common Core: Fostering academic interaction
Language Magazine
A primary goal of English language development and world-language coursework is to ensure that students develop the verbal and written language skills to communicate effectively in social and academic settings. To develop communicative competence, students at all grade levels and proficiency levels need daily supported opportunities using their second languages for diverse purposes. Simply providing provocative questions and exhortations to "share with a neighbor" will not yield impressive linguistic results. In this frequent classroom scenario, students are likely to respond inefficiently and inaudibly, using brief phrases punctuated by everyday vocabulary, without being able to recall their lesson partners' contributions.
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Gifted students aren't getting the focus they need
The Washington Post
States aren't doing enough to support gifted students, especially those from low-income families — that's the message that the Virginia-based Jack Kent Cooke Foundation sent with the release of report cards on state policies for academically talented children. No state received an A. There were plenty of D's and a few F's. But more important than the letter grades are some of the underlying data.
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8 strategies to keep informational reading fun
Edutopia
John Spencer, a contributor for Edutopia, writes: "One of the biggest complaints I hear about Common Core is the push toward informational texts. This is often accompanied by the complaint that we are no longer allowing students to read for the sake of reading. Just yesterday, a teacher said to me, 'I wish we could read novels. With all these informational texts, kids are losing the love of reading.'"
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How Common Core is killing the textbook
The Hechinger Report
On a sunny January afternoon, the heaviest things in six-year-old Miriam Foster's backpack were her lunch box and her jacket, making it manageable for the kindergartener's walk home. "She does it herself from here to home, and home to here," said Miriam's mom, Tawankon Foster, 31. Her light load was not unique. At Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley, California, the occasional library book provides some heft, but the 20-pound pack is a thing of the past. After adopting the new Common Core standards, Berkeley has become one of an increasing number of districts across the country to reject textbooks or workbooks — at least for some classes.
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Using choice to motivate and differentiate
By: Savanna Flakes
Choice is one of the greatest motivators and also one of the most powerful tools in setting up a differentiated classroom. Who doesn't love to choose? As adults, we prefer to have choice in our staff book studies, professional development and class schedules. Likewise, choice provides students many options to navigate content and show their mastery of material. Choice boards are one of the greatest strategies I have found to be beneficial in supporting student learning in differentiated classrooms.
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10 Rainy and Snow Day Activities for Indoor Recess
Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer
I remember well the dreaded “rainy days” at school. My staff often got as frustrated as the students with indoor activities or a general lack of activities when days of rain held students and staff captive indoors for extended periods of time. In California, gyms or indoor areas for movement are few and far between and indoor hallways a rarity adding to the pent-up feeling of a world closing in.
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Promoted by Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer


3 games about viruses that teach interconnectedness
MindShift
Inside a classroom, opportunities to learn about common viruses arise when illnesses cycle through, like the cold, flu and some conjunctivitis. Those ailments often come and go with students spending a couple of days recovering at home. However, the types of communicable diseases that capture the nation's attention tend to be more deadly, such as Ebola. While students can learn about how these diseases affect the human body and communities through news, books and movies, another platform has proven itself useful as an educational tool: games. By playing games about how relationships and outcomes are tested by more deadly viruses, players are pushed to work together to ensure survival.
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Research: Video gamers learn visual activities faster
The Journal
Score one for gamers. An experiment at Brown University has uncovered a correlation between people who frequently play video games and their ability to retain learning about two quickly learned visual activities. The results suggest that video game playing not only improves player performance but also builds up the capacity to improve performance. According to, "Frequent Video Game Players Resist Perceptual Interference," a paper recently published on PLOS One, the researchers ran a small experiment. They had two teams of people, nine frequent gamers and nine non-gamers, participate in two days of learning activities.
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3 tips for implementing a tech-based learning environment
eSchool News
Making a digital leap isn't simply a technology initiative; it's planning and implementing a technology-based learning environment for all students — a digitally-enabled ecosystem that is continuously improving, according to one organization. But when educators have a limited understanding of how to successfully integrate technology within education, it might seem as though they're facing an abyss. To assist schools grappling with these efforts, three large, national professional education associations combined forces, offering practical guidance, best practices and examples of model technology-enabled schools.
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School dismissal a dangerous time for kids getting hit by cars
HealthDay News
Children are at greatest risk of being hit by a car at the end of the school day, as well as in the evening, a new study finds. One expert wasn't surprised by the findings. The after-school hours are "times when adult supervision may not be ideal," said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Having increased police awareness and school-sponsored safety patrols available when afternoon caregivers cannot be present may help to reduce the risk," said Glatter, who was not involved in the new research.
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New online K-12 anti-bullying solution focuses on reporting, data
eSchool News
Bridg-it has launched Bridg-it School, an online school safety solution that addresses the lifecycle of an incident, from reporting through resolution. In addition, Bridg-it School addresses harmful situations by providing access to a Resource Center of curated content with restorative techniques that foster positive outcomes. Available via computer, tablet or smartphone, Bridg-it School allows students, teachers, parents and administrators to securely file a confidential report in less than one minute, from anywhere at any time.
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Finding a path forward after the parent-teacher conference
By: Nancy Gahles
The angst of parenthood rears its ugly multiheaded hydra appearance around this time every year — it's time for the parent-teacher conference. The parental hopes and dreams that your child did, in fact, incorporate all the lectures from you on bringing up his/her game hang in the fateful balance of this night. The parent-teacher conference will reveal the performance of your child. From the parental perspective, this may translate into how well have "I" achieved.
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Revolving door of teachers costs schools billions every year
NPR
Every year, thousands of fresh-faced teachers are handed the keys to a new classroom, given a pat on the back and told, "Good luck!" Over the next five years, though, nearly half of those teachers will transfer to a new school or leave the profession altogether — only to be replaced with similarly fresh-faced teachers. We've been reporting this month on the pipeline into teaching — and hearing from teachers themselves about why they stay. Richard Ingersoll, who has studied the issue for years, says there's a revolving door of teacher turnover that costs school districts upwards of $2.2 billion a year.
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Friendship barriers and solutions for kids with ADHD
Psychology Today
Helping children with ADHD learn to get along better with their peers is very difficult. Research shows that medication and reward systems can cut down on their inappropriate behavior, but these changes don't necessarily lead to greater peer acceptance or making friends. Teaching these children social skills in isolation also hasn't proven helpful. Even when children can perform a certain skill perfectly in a clinic or home setting, it doesn't mean they'll remember to use that skill in a relevant situation at school or with a friend.
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Disability-related education complaints trending up
Disability Scoop
Federal education officials are fielding an increasing number of complaints related to disability discrimination in the nation's schools. More than 3,900 complaints based on disability were filed with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights during the 2014 fiscal year, the most recent period for which statistics are available. Though that's somewhat fewer than the department received in 2013, it represents a sharp rise over five years. By comparison, less than 3,000 complaints were filed in 2009.
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ESEA's 50-year legacy a blend of idealism, policy tensions
Education Week
Fifty years ago this month, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Elementary and Secondary Education Act outside the former one-room schoolhouse in rural Texas he'd once attended. The new law dramatically ramped up Washington's investment in K-12 education, carving out a role for the federal government in educating the nation's poorest children. But shortly after that cinematic ceremony, administrators in the U.S. Office of Education — the predecessor of today's separate, Cabinet-level department — found themselves with a difficult task.
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Students learning from Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal
By: Thomas Van Soelen
Lori Hetherington at Alpharetta High School, just north of the heart of Atlanta, was in her first year teaching Advanced Placement Statistics to juniors and seniors. New to the course and new to teaching many gifted learners, she needed to complete a project as part of a gifted endorsement course sequence. As Hetherington sat at home in 2010, the news of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal saturated every local channel, but everything was presented through the eyes of reporters. When Gov. Nathan Deal assigned two special prosecutors, everything changed.
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New York budget increases school funding, amends teacher evaluation rules
WNYC
After months of protests by teachers and parents, Albany leaders would not endorse all of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's education proposals but they conceded to some significant changes, particularly on the teacher evaluation system, as pressure mounted to meet the April 1 deadline for an on-time budget. The governor's office said districts would see an increase of $1.3 billion this year and funding would not be linked explicitly to a new teacher evaluation system, as Cuomo originally wanted. In return, the current teacher evaluation system will change, with many details being left to state education officials. Still, if districts do not enact new evaluation plans by November they could lose their state funding.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Schools nationwide struggle with substitute teacher shortage (The Associated Press via ABC News)
How much academic homework is too much? (Psychology Today)
For preschoolers, math means more than counting to 10 (Phys.org)
Report: How well are American students learning? (Brookings)
Education funding gaps: Which states are hitting, missing the mark? (The Christian Science Monitor)

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




The tale of the struggling reader
NAESP
All too often, the life story of the struggling reader, especially the child from disadvantaged circumstances, is a heartbreaking one. Often not identified as at-risk until third-grade high-stakes testing, stigmatized by classroom pull-out programs, given one-size-fits-all remediation, and faced with the possibility of retention, the struggling reader must then continually play catch-up in all subject areas as reading becomes increasingly central to learning.
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6 dos and don'ts to be a multiplier
NAESP
Leaders can be diminishers or multipliers, says Elise Foster, expert leadership coach and 2015 NAESP Conference speaker. In her 2014 book, "The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools", she and coauthors Liz Wiseman and Lois Allen define leaders who shut down their team members' thinking "diminishers." Multipliers, on the other hand, extract and extend the genius of others.
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