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Text Version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit June 19, 2015

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Tough tests for teachers, with question of bias
The New York Times
Students are not the only ones struggling to pass new standardized tests being rolled out around the country. So are those who want to be teachers. Concerned that education schools were turning out too many middling graduates, states have been introducing more difficult teacher licensing exams. Perhaps not surprisingly, passing rates have fallen. But minority candidates have been doing especially poorly, jeopardizing a long-held goal of diversifying the teaching force so it more closely resembles the makeup of the country’s student body.
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American Heart Association petition aims to save school lunch rules
The Hill
The American Heart Association will formally launch a petition to keep first lady Michelle Obama's school lunch regulations in place. The health group is fighting back against special interest groups that are lobbying Congress to roll back requirements that now force schools to serve 100 percent whole-grain-rich products, further reduce sodium content by 2017 and make students take a half-cup of fruit or vegetables with each meal.
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Blast off: The Next Generation Science Standards
Scholastic Administration Magazine
One day last spring, a student in Allison Hogan's K–1 transition class at the Episcopal School of Dallas came in from recess and asked, "Why do birds have different beaks?" Hogan simply could have answered in a couple of short sentences. But instead, she engaged her class in a discussion about their observations of birds. Soon after, her students were engrossed in an investigation of the question at hand. Hogan challenged them to think of everyday objects they could use to re-create birds' beaks. One student suggested tongue depressors; the class eventually settled on long cotton swabs from the nurse's office.
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Where has the play gone?
Te@chThought
Sometimes the replacement is better than the original, and we don't miss the original for more than a brief moment: think whiteboards v. blackboards, chalk and erasers; or copy machines v. mimeograph machines and purple "masters." But then sometimes we look around and wonder why something important seems to have disappeared, like play, for example. Where has play gone, for both children and adults?
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Teaching handwriting in early childhood
District Administration Magazine
Relegating handwriting to the back burner of early childhood education ignores the close relationship between fine motor skill development and early success in math and reading. Technology isn't the enemy, but jumping to keyboards and calculators before mastering pencil and paper may not be developmentally appropriate for young learners. Manuscript handwriting does make a cameo appearance in the Common Core for kindergarten through third grade, but the standards have abandoned cursive handwriting completely.
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Mystery Skype calls connect your classroom to the world
eSchool News
For centuries, schools have sat in silos. Teachers and students were capable of communicating only with those inside their own buildings. It was at one time not only unattainable, but unthinkable to collaborate and communicate with outside classrooms. The technology for these types of interactions had not yet been introduced to education — and even if they were, cost and practicality were barriers to implementation.
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ELL writing skills: The exercises
By: Douglas Magrath
It is possible for a language instructor to develop texts and skill-building exercises for even beginning language learners. The content of the passages should deal with the learners' immediate environment and the situations they face every day, along with an insight into the target culture. Here is an example of some functional exercises providing guidance but allowing room for individuals to communicate a real message on a topic of interest — finances.
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Building lifelong readers: Do reward systems help?
Education Week (commentary)
Liana Heitin, a contributor for Education Week, writes: "Can reward systems help make students into readers? While going through a stack of journals on my desk yesterday, I happened on an article by developmental psychologist Daniel Willingham in the spring issue of American Educator addressing just that question. Willingham is not a fan of "if you read, then you get ice cream" types of reward systems. Some research has found they may lead to potential short-term increases in reading, but they don't improve students' attitudes towards reading overall."
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Why we need to put the arts into STEM education
Slate
As STEAM has become increasingly prominent, some have argued that the general addition of an "arts" component distracts from the focus on the hard sciences. Lloyd M. Bentsen IV, a researcher with National Center for Policy Analysis, says STEM already suffers from a major problem with student engagement, and the focus on changing STEM to STEAM would distract from the issue.
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Be better...
Connected Principals (commentary)
Dan Kerr, a contributor for Connected Principals blog, writes: "So here we are finally, with the end of the year at our fingertips, and the final week ready to begin. I think it's an understatement to say that we're all ready to take a break and to head off for the summer ... you've all given so much to our students and to each other over the past ten months, and I couldn't be more proud of what you've accomplished this year for our community. With the holiday in plain sight, I want to talk briefly about taking some time over the next couple of months to reflect, and to think about the ways that you can become even better ... a better educator ... a better colleague ... a better person."
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How 6th-graders evaluated their teacher
MiddleWeb (commentary)
Kevin Hodgson, a contributor for MiddleWeb, writes: "The writing is on the wall. Sometime, in the next year or two, our newly-instituted teacher evaluation process will begin to include student feedback, along with SMART goals and archived materials to document teaching practice. While some of my colleagues have expressed reservations about this shift to including students, I am mostly just curious about it. What would my sixth grade students say about the year they spend with me in our English language arts classroom?"
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Professional learning opportunities and the teachers they create
Edutopia (commentary)
Andrew Marcinek, the director of technology and EducatorU.org co-founder in Boston, writes: "Over the past few years, professional learning structures have shifted dramatically. This has been a shift not so much in content or strategies, but rather in overall design of professional learning. At its core, professional learning is the key component to improving educator practice and providing new perspectives on an ever-changing profession. While most content has remained consistent throughout time, instructional design, educational policy, and classroom tools and structures have been in constant motion."
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords TECHNOLOGY.


Report: Is it game over for gamification?
EdTech Magazine
Gamification has been around for several years. According to Merriam-Webster, the term's first known use was in 2010. But it's still being flagged by some spell-checkers as a typo. This may be fitting, because gamification was retired in the 2015 New Media Consortium Horizon Report on emerging technology for K–12. Gamification — or incorporating elements of games into learning to drive engagement — has thrived in other industries like business. But NMC CEO Larry Johnson said it hasn't quite taken hold in the classroom.
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Is the 'app mentality' killing students' creativity?
THE Journal
Back in the early 2000s, Katie Davis was teaching fourth grade. She learned basic HTML so she could post her weekly homework and class helpers on a Web page. Although her site was static (think Web 1.0 before Blackboard and eChalk) she was amazed at her students' reactions. "My students loved it," she said. "They were so proud that we had the only classroom website. They were thrilled to see either their name or their picture on the website. It was really interesting to me to see how captivated they were."
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Green spaces make kids smarter
The Atlantic (commentary)
Olga Khazan, a contributor for The Atlantic, writes: "When I lived in L.A., I reported on a school near Long Beach in which nearly a fifth of the students had asthma. One culprit seemed to be the school's unfortunate geography: About 500 trucks passed by its grounds every hour, and according to a study released at the time, at least 9 percent of childhood-asthma cases in the area were attributable to road traffic. The air near the school, which sometimes smelled rotten or rubbery, contained nearly twice the normal level of elemental carbon, a marker of diesel particles."
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House appropriators prepare fiscal 2016 education spending bill for markup
Education Week
The House appropriations subcommittee responsible for setting spending levels for the U.S Department of Education and federal education programs met to prepare its fiscal 2016 funding bill for a full committee markup next week. Lawmakers unveiled the appropriations package. Among other things, it would slash funding for the Education Department and its programs by $2.8 billion by eliminating a slate of nearly 20 programs, including many high-profile Obama administration priorities.
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New York lawmakers considering bill making Lunar New Year a school holiday
iSchoolGuide
The New York State Senate unanimously passed a bill to make the Lunar New Year a school holiday, which is observed across most Asian countries. Asian-dominated schools in New York City could have as many as 80 percent of their students staying at home to celebrate the Lunar New Year with their families. The State Assembly is also considering a similar bill, saying the Legislature cannot wait for Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision on the issue.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Shifting a school's culture (Scholastic Administrator Magazine)
Do lazy June school days include too many movies and parties? (The Washington Post)
Research: Quick teacher-parent communications can reduce dropouts (THE Journal)
Kindergartens ringing the bell for play inside the classroom (The New York Times)
11 mistakes schools make when buying charge and storage carts and how to avoid them (K-12 TechDecisions)

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


Lessons from the principal of a Kentucky school that went from one of the worst to one of the best under Common Core
The Hechinger Report
When results from Kentucky's first round of Common Core aligned testing came out in 2011, Southside Elementary School in Lee County, like most schools, found itself looking at grim numbers. Pass rates went from 73 percent to 46 percent in reading and 62.5 percent to 27 percent in math. Based on those scores, and some other factors, the school was found to be in the 14th percentile statewide.
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Nevada leads nation as more states embrace school choice
The Hill
As the 2014-2015 school year closes, parents who seek a more promising educational opportunity for their children next year will have more options than ever thanks to an unprecedented level of action across the country to embrace school choice. From Nevada, where lawmakers enacted Education Savings Accounts for all children in public schools, to states enacting ESAs, school vouchers, or tax-credit scholarships for children with special needs or living in low-income families, there will be more educational opportunity in grades K-12 next year than at any time in history.
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Support students with in-school therapy
NAESP
In this age of standardized testing, increased accountability for teachers and administrators, and the infinite flow of communication and information, it is no surprise that the stress of those issues, as well as many others, has trickled down to produce more stress for students. Schools are working with agencies outside the school setting to meet the behavioral, mental, psychological and even physical needs of their students.
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Principal magazine recognized for excellence
NAESP
NAESP understands how important recognition can be for students, teachers and principals. So we're excited to share that Principal magazine, which brings education leaders timely articles, promising practices to share, and the latest developments in the field, has been recognized for its contribution to the field. Communications Concepts awarded the September/October 2014 issue of Principal, "Adapt to Change: Leadership Strategies", with an APEX Grand Award for publication excellence!
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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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