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5 tech tools that support Common Core State Standards
The Journal
According to the 4th Annual Principals' Assessment of Public Education, 95.7 percent of schools in states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards have implemented or are in the process of implementing the standards. Many of those schools are also getting ready to administer the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium assessments for the first time. To get a sense of what is working in districts around the country, we asked educators to share the technology tools that they are using to help implement CCSS and prepare students for the upcoming assessments.
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A new era in teaching: The rise of personalized learning
By: Brian Stack
Education is changing. Schools are evolving into places where students can choose their learning pathway and build their own personalized and customized program that will fit their learning goals and needs. Gone are the days when the one-size-fits-all, stand-and-deliver approach to instruction was appropriate. Today's teachers are coming to recognize their new role as a learning facilitator or coach. From sage on the stage to guide on the side, America's teachers have entered into a new era in their profession.
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Emphasize real problems to boost STEM learning
Edutopia
Problem solving is at the heart of engineering. No wonder, then, that engineering teacher Alexander Pancic leverages his own problem-solving skills to improve his students' learning experiences at Brighton High School in Boston, Massachusetts. "I've been trying to get my students to make the step, when they encounter a problem, of asking, 'What do I need to know to try to solve it?'" Students who are accustomed to doing worksheets, Pancic says, "get used to having everything they need to know included in the problems. Life isn't like that. You encounter real-life problems and have to figure out, what do I need to know? How can I find out? And then, how do I apply it?"
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As student tests move online, keyboarding enters curriculum
The Associated Press
Seven-year-old Ja'Niyah Smith's first-grade class filed into a computer lab at a suburban San Francisco school recently and, as they do every week, practiced using mouses to pop bubbles with a cartoon pickle, catch flies with a frog's tongue and arrange virtual blocks into words. The students, their legs dangling off their chairs, fell quiet, the silence broken by an occasional "I did it!" "Computers give us a break, so when we are in class, our minds can be fresh for learning," Ja'Niyah explained as she deftly maneuvered a turtle across a 14-inch desktop screen.
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Simple exercises to improve ELL reading skills — Part 3
By: Douglas Magrath
One of the problems in basic-level reading is that many reading texts on the market are often too advanced for beginning learners since they contain both complex structures and a flood of new vocabulary. Such material can overwhelm the reader and create a feeling of frustration and discouragement. A creative teacher is not without recourse, however. The following teacher-made materials have proven to be useful in ESL classrooms where beginners were working on developing reading skills.
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Kids' school performance may be determined by genes, which affect motivation levels
Medical Daily
Unmotivated students aren't fully to blame, according to new findings that reinforces nature trumps nurture when it comes to personality development. Researchers at the University of Ohio studied how genetics may play a dominating role in a child's performance in school. The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, found children may inherit motivation from their parents, not their environment.
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Why students should code and easy ways to get started
K-12 TechDecisions
By 2020, there will be over one million computer science related jobs available. This number comes from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, which names computer science-related fields as the fastest growing careers. Yet, in the state of Massachusetts, where K-12 TechDecisions is based, only 120 schools teach computer science and the schools that do offer those courses do not count computer science as a math or a science credit. There's no clear pathway to becoming a certified computer science teacher and no standard for computer science curriculum. Massachusetts isn't alone. The stats are similar across the U.S. with some states faring better than others.
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Discipline on the playground : A "how to" guide for playground supervisors
Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer
Discipline on the playground is a challenge at most school sites. When a child misbehaves on the playground, the following suggestions may serve as a blueprint for “how to discipline” students in the outdoor, less-structured environment. The playground supervisor should: 1. Get in close proximity to the child misbehaving.
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Promoted by Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer


Low-income kids benefit from music class, show greater reading skills
Medical Daily
Music classes are usually cut first when schools reevaluate their budget. But a new study from Northwestern University shows these classes are valuable, especially to low-income children. Researchers cited that low socioeconomic status affects a child's reading abilities through a combination of their environment and reduced access to reading materials. This means they spend less time reading, which then means their reading fluency and vocabulary is inhibited. Since music and language skills stem from auditory processing, researchers decided to measure the impact music classes have on low-income children.
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Why you should stop testing and start assessing
eSchool News
Torrey Trust, a contributor for eSchool News, writes: "During the first day of the semester, one of my students commented: 'Your class is the easiest class I have this semester. You don't have any tests.' I laughed, but the student was serious. I teach graduate level courses about educational technology, such as Online Tools for Teaching and Learning. The thought of asking students to take tests to show their knowledge had never crossed my mind. My goal has always been to design courses that capture the interest of the students and inspire them to take charge of their learning. I just don't think that tests can capture my students' true learning experiences."
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    1. WHICH ONE IS YOU?
       A. I have to push students through the basic language art skills.
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Longer school days and years catching on in public K-12
Education Week
A growing number of American schools are ditching the 19th century — when it comes to the school calendar that is. Twice as many schools today have a longer school day or year than just two years ago and, for the first, more of them are traditional public schools than charter schools, according to a joint report by the Boston-based National Center on Time and Learning and the Denver-based Education Commission of the States. Of the 2,009 schools that had expanded learning time last year, 1,208 — or 61 percent — were regular public schools. That's almost a total flip from 2012, when there were 1,079 schools with additional time and 56 percent of them were charters.
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Withholding recess as a punishment declines
Education Week
It's not uncommon for elementary school teachers to take away recess time to discipline students. Withholding cherished playtime clearly communicates to children that their misbehavior is unacceptable, they argue. But more and more, schools are doing away with withholding recess for disciplinary reasons, pointing to research findings that unstructured play and exercise benefit students both inside and outside the classroom.
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How to stop worrying and love your technology
Scholastic Administration Magazine
Steven Anderson and his team at Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in North Carolina are used to dealing with tech newbies. They train and support 4,000 teachers on a variety of equipment and software. But when one experienced, and respected, teacher said that she simply did not want to use technology in her classroom, it became the group's challenge to change her mind.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords TECHNOLOGY.


CDC: High school, middle school kids now use more e-cigs than tobacco
The Washington Post
The number of middle and high school students using electronic cigarettes tripled between 2013 and 2014, according to government figures, a startling increase that public health officials fear could reverse decades of efforts combating the scourge of smoking. The use of e-cigarettes among teenagers has eclipsed the use of traditional cigarettes and all other tobacco products, a development that Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called "alarming" and "shocking."
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On alert, online
District Administration Magazine
Only a handful of school districts attempt rigorous, round-the-clock monitoring of social media traffic to spot threats against their schools or students. Leaders in these districts say the extra level of security acts as an early-warning system that can prevent young people from hurting themselves or others. And students who know they're being monitored are less likely to cyberbully their classmates or to post photos, comments or other material that will embarrass them later in life, district leaders say.
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Kids and anxiety: Many theories exist as to why some kids are anxious and others aren't
The Record
Frustrated parents want to know, "Why?" One in four children suffers from an anxiety disorder during childhood and adolescence, according to experts, but why is this particular child in that 25 percent? Why him instead of his classmate? Why her and not her twin sister? What happened? Why won't it just go away? There are a lot of theories and continuing research as to why some children develop anxiety disorders while others — even those raised in the same environment by the same parents — do not.
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What will education look like in a more open future?
MindShift (commentary)
Open learning systems apply the same learning principles to their professionals as they do to their students. They understand that the only sustainable transformation in education has to be owned by the people who have to implement it: teachers. They have high expectations of the profession's capacity to learn through transparent, shared practice, and of their ability to rise to additional responsibilities. They have the humility to accept that learning now happens everywhere, anytime and they work hard to integrate informal learning into the formal environment.
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Fresh battles loom when full Senate takes up ESEA rewrite
Education Week
The bipartisan rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that the U.S. Senate education committee unanimously approved joins a crush of legislative priorities awaiting debate on the chamber's floor — a process that's not guaranteed, and one that will likely draw intense partisan sparring. Even if the bill breaks through an already-clogged congressional calendar and moves to debate, it could look radically different as senators on both sides of the aisle offer amendments to reshape the measure to their liking.
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Statewide testing must go hand in hand with investment in our teachers
The Hill
The debate about the role of testing in schools is loud and divisive — and too often, we're presented with the false choice of either measuring our students' progress or developing teachers and students to make that progress. The truth is, our country needs to do both. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, long overdue for reauthorization, is a part of getting there. ESEA is neither a silver bullet nor an end in itself for the nation's goals, but it will help us toward the educational equity and excellence that our children so sorely need.
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Principal ordered to stop giving teachers 'unnecessary paperwork'
New York Post
Teachers at John Dewey HS say they are being buried in paperwork. A state arbitrator ordered Principal Kathleen Elvin "to cease and desist requiring educators to do unnecessary paperwork." The new teachers union contract requires the Department of Education to stop bogging instructors down with petty paperwork edicts. The dispute centers on "Do Now" assignments, which students are required to start at the beginning of class, a sort of a mini-quiz on the topic at hand each day.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Religious-freedom laws add to schools' complex duties (Education Week)
3 ways technology can support positive behavior in schools (eSchool News)
Report: Schools should focus more on soft skills (THE Journal)
Standing desks simplify collaboration and get kids excited to learn (K-12 TechDecisions)
Should every school class be a computer coding class? (The Hechinger Report)

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




Principal magazine explores mental health
NAESP
Principals know that in order for students to learn, they have to consider the whole child. And a huge part of that consideration is students' mental health and well-being. Whether it's dealing with student grief, behavioral issues, or simply making schools safe and comfortable, principals can have a meaningful impact on their students' wellness. The March/April issue of Principal presents the latest thinking on, as well as practical strategies for, addressing student mental health. You can read the digital edition on your computer or mobile device.
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Recognize student excellence with the President's Education Awards
NAESP
Celebrate achievement in your school with the President's Education Awards Program. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with NAESP and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, PEAP offers principals a way to recognize and honor students' dedication to learning. Each award includes an embossed certificate signed by President Barack Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and you.
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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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