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Technology in schools: Defining the terms
Edutopia
The topic of technology can be confusing. Maybe the most confounding part is reaching a definition of "technology" that works to foster healthy discussion of the best ways that schools can use technology to enhance learning. The 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress Technology and Engineering Literacy framework defines technology as "any modification of the natural world done to fulfill human needs or desires." Interestingly, the definition says nothing about iPads, tablets, laptops, Google, Facebook or Instagram.
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District leaders urge more time to implement Common Core State Standards
Education Week
Four organizations representing school district leaders today called for "adequate" time to manage the tricky transition to the Common Core State Standards and tests. "Adequate" isn't defined in the joint statement, however. "We must make adequate time for a thoughtful conversation about how assessments can be used to provide instructionally useful information to schools in a timely manner," say the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National School Boards Association.
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The coding movement: Resources for computer science education
eSchool News
In the middle of a resounding push for science, technology, engineering and math education is a growing movement to expose children to computer science education and skills, also known as computer programming or coding. According to Code.org statistics, computer science is the highest-paid college degree, and jobs in computer programming are growing at two times the national average–but despite that, fewer than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science.
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Raising readers, writers and spellers
Psychology Today
Common Core State Standards — adopted by 45 states — is supposed to bring back writing in schools. Ironically, a writing revolution in schools happened 37 years ago when an eloquent professor named Donald Graves cracked the psychology of writing. Today some teachers fear Common Core is wrecking writing instruction in their classrooms. The father of the writing revolution in schools, the late Donald Graves, founded the Writing Process Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire in 1976 that would have profound impact on the teaching of writing in the English-speaking world. Graves and his research assistants conducted classroom research projects that gave authority to what he called "the writing process." Thousands of teachers came to visit and other researchers joined in and disseminated his work creating a worldwide educational movement.
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7 amazingly easy video ideas for capturing and keeping students' attention
THE Journal
Keeping students attentive in the 21st century classroom is no easy feat. Sure, there's the buzzword — "engagement" — that pervades education technology rhetoric, but what does engagement really look like, and how do teachers achieve it? For veteran educators Dotty Corbiere, a math specialist at Meadowbrook School in Weston, Mass., and Rushton Hurley, founder of the nonprofit organization Next Vista for Learning and a former high school Japanese language teacher and principal, the answer is video.
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  • State chiefs: Common Core requires flexibility, not a pause
    Education Week
    The Council of Chief State School Officers is rejecting calls for a moratorium on any high stakes tied to the Common Core State Standards, and is instead suggesting that states have almost all of the power they need to smooth the way for what could be a rocky transition. What the chiefs do want, however, is some flexibility from the U.S. Department of Education and from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan — from No Child Left Behind itself or the waivers already granted — during these next couple of tricky years as the Common Core is fully implemented and common tests come on line. In fact, about three-dozen chiefs or their representatives met with three high-level federal department officials last week in Chicago to talk about these issues.
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    In raising scores, 1 2 3 is easier than A B C
    The New York Times
    David Javsicas, a popular seventh-grade reading teacher known for urging students to act out dialogue in the books they read in class, sometimes feels wistful for the days when he taught math. A quiz, he recalls, could quickly determine which concepts students had not yet learned. Then, "you teach the kids how to do it, and within a week or two you can usually fix it," he said. Helping students to puzzle through different narrative perspectives or subtext or character motivation, though, can be much more challenging. "It could take months to see if what I'm teaching is effective," he said.
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    Putting your beliefs into action
    Principal
    What can the average, hard-working principal do to address the achievement gap? Principals should research and read as much as they can about the causes and effects of the differences in student achievement, but they should be careful not to get so caught up in the discourse that they forget to act in their schools. Action is required by every principal, daily. By putting their beliefs into action, principals can be the nexus of meaningful change.
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    Learning is a consequence of thinking
    Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
    Shawn Blankenship, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "How do YOU take responsibility for your own learning? How do YOU continuously grow the gap between what you know and what you do? How often do you think about your own art of teaching? What do YOU do as a result of those thoughts? These are questions that I ask when interviewing and searching for the best of the best. Many candidates respond with a blank stare and struggle with recalling the last educational article, book, or video they've read or watched."
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    Docs urged to address military kids' mental health
    CNN
    More than 2 million children have been affected by the military deployment of at least one parent within the past decade, and thousands have had to cope with a parent's death or traumatic injury, experts say. Therefore, it's imperative that pediatricians and other health care providers address the mental health and well-being of children from U.S. military families, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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    Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword MENTAL HEALTH.


    Remembering the promise of Brown vs. Board of Education
    ED.gov Blog
    May 17 marked the 59th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education, which unanimously held that the segregation of children in public schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The court found that segregated schools were in violation because they provided unequal opportunities, negatively impacting poor and minority students relegated to under-resourced schools.
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    Poor and rich kids: Here's how they can get the same education
    TakePart (commentary)
    When parents imagine the ideal school for their kids, many probably envision a place where children can not only master basic skills and content, but also be valued as individuals, encouraged to delve into interesting topics and safe to take healthy risks. Many schools offer this kind of rich education. Unfortunately, they disproportionately serve children who come from privileged backgrounds.
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    Experiencing bullying during childhood directly increases the likelihood of self-harm in late adolescence
    Medical News Today
    The analysis, led by researchers from the University of Warwick in association with colleagues at the University of Bristol, highlights that being bullied at primary school age can cause enough distress to significantly increase the risk of self-harming in later adolescence. Almost 5,000 participants in the children of the 90s study were assessed for exposure to bullying between seven and ten years of age and later asked whether they had engaged in self-harm at sixteen to seventeen years.
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    The persistent appeal of technology in learning
    Edutopia
    Dr. Victor Frankenstein loved technology, and Mary Shelley's work of fiction was at once a cautionary and promotional tale of technology's incredible potential. In the iconic story, he took the pieces of a human being and stitched them together to create something monstrous — but in many ways more human than the model he was hoping to produce. Who doesn't love a little irony? Education loves technology, too — and for good reason.
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    Figuring out accountability during the Common Core transition
    Education Week
    The next couple of years will be rough going. That's no surprise to anyone who's been tracking the Common Core State Standards and waivers from key parts of the No Child Left Behind Act. Those big movements have pressed states into changing academic expectations, curricula, teacher evaluation, accountability and other tectonic plates of the school landscape. And common assessments, slated to make their debut in the spring of 2015, will likely provide the numbers that influence evaluations of many educators, schools and districts.
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    The number of high-poverty schools increases by about 60 percent
    The Hechinger Report
    Poverty is getting so concentrated in America that one out of five public schools was classified as as a "high-poverty" school in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Education. To win this unwelcome designation, 75 percent or more of an elementary, middle or high school's students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch. About a decade earlier, in 2000, only one in eight public schools was deemed to be high poverty. That's about a 60 percent increase in the number of very poor schools.
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    Learning is a consequence of thinking
    Connected Principals Blog
    Shawn Blankenship, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "How do YOU take responsibility for your own learning? How do YOU continuously grow the gap between what you know and what you do? How often do YOU think about your own art of teaching?"

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    Sorting kids at school: the return of ability grouping
    Desert News
    A new report shows that ability grouping in schools is on the rise, and prior research shows that teaching students in groups of like ability improves success for low and high achievers. There are important caveats, though.

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    10 keys to a successful school iPad program
    eSchool News
    It seems that every school is considering purchasing iPads these days, and Apple has reported that iPad sales to schools are currently outpacing MacBook sales by a very large margin.

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    Mental health training may soon be required for Texas teachers
    KROI-FM
    Supporters of a bill that would require Texas teachers to be trained to recognize signs of mental health problems in their students say this law could save children’s lives. The legislation has cleared both houses of the Texas Legislature, and is awaiting Gov. Rick Perry's signature. If the governor signs the bill, teachers would get training that might help them detect when a student is at risk for suicide, or is suffering from other emotional or mental health issues. This would allow teachers to reach out to students and their parents if they grow concerned that a student is exhibiting signs of deteriorating mental or emotional health.
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    District, union clash over market-based salary plan in Douglas County, Colo.
    The Denver Post
    Colorado's Douglas County School District administrators and teacher union representatives are at odds over a recently approved plan that injects $15.7 million into pay raises, bonuses and other compensation next school year. District administrators are touting their decision to offer teacher pay raises as a way to reward effective educators and help fill positions that traditionally have fewer applicants. Union leaders said the plan, which bases raises on evaluation results and market-based salary criteria developed by the district, is misleading and lacks transparency.
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    Perseverance at a Newark, N.J., school following midyear teacher turnover
    The Hechinger Report
    The first teacher to go was grieving over the death of a loved one. Those who followed gave reasons more directly tied to frustrations at the school: long hours taking a toll on family life, the minimal pay increase when the academic day was extended in January, feeling discounted in curricular decisions. One after another, they kept leaving. Between December and February, five teachers at Quitman Street Renew School quit, including the entire staff for middle school science and math, subjects now staffed by long-term substitutes. Two of those who resigned had disciplinary charges pending against them, and principal Erskine Glover had to rehire them in September to give them a legally required opportunity to improve.
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    Minnesota requires fewer classroom hours than other states. Does it matter?
    Pioneer Press
    Last summer, school superintendents Jane Berenz and Jay Haugen had a tough idea to sell to parents. As educators across the nation pushed for students to spend more time in school, Berenz and Haugen had to convince parents that less time would be beneficial — even though Minnesota trails many states in time students are required to spend with a teacher. Their sales pitch was that the quality of instructional time is more important for students than the quantity.
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    The biggest irony in Chicago's mass closing of schools
    The Washington Post (commentary)
    There's some deep irony in this: In 2002, Arne Duncan, then the head of the Chicago public schools system, announced that he was closing three elementary schools because they had been failing students for years. It was the start of a strategy of closing down schools that were academically failing or under-enrolled and reopening them as a new school.
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    TRENDING ARTICLES
    Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        New leaders don't have to 'fly solo' (Education Week)
    Teachers were heroic protectors (USA Today)
    Should teachers be trained like doctors and lawyers? (TakePart)
    Common Core promises new tests. Will they be better than the old ones? (The Christian Science Monitor)
    To encourage boys' reading, look to book clubs (Omaha World-Herald)

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




    Redefining the achievement gap with Principal magazine
    NAESP
    The May/June issue of Principal magazine explores the school's role in leveling the playing field for all students. Visit the online home of Principal to explore all aspects of the achievement gap, including school culture, access to technology and instructional leadership. Don't miss the last article in the five-part series for early career principals, Charting Your Path.
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    What's on your summer reading list? Try NAESP's best books for principals
    NAESP
    It's not too early to start planning ahead for next year — and it's not too late to pick up the latest books from NAESP to do it. Peruse the National Principals Resource Center bookstore, filled with titles on instructional leadership, professional development, RTI and more.
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