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Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools

Math Problem solving contests for teams of up to 35 students in grades 4 through 8.

 





Construction wave produces new and improved schools
District Administration Magazine
State-of-the-art science labs, green buildings and internet upgrades are among major trends in school construction this year, as districts break ground on large projects that address aging facilities, increased enrollment and technology needs. The first annual DA School Construction Survey gathered data from more than 1,000 school personnel this past spring. More than half of respondents said their district broke ground on a major building project in 2014-2015.
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Making the case for social media in schools
Edutopia (commentary)
Jim Asher, the principal of Jackson P. Burley Middle School in Charlottesville, Virginia, writes: "'Do you have a Twitter account? Do you use Instagram?' I ask those questions of all teacher applicants at Jackson P. Burley Middle School, and I'm surprised by how many people answer, 'No.' Or, 'Well, I set up an account a while ago, but I don't really use it.' I don't expect every person to be a tech expert with every type of social media. I doubt, for example, that most regular users of Microsoft Word know how many features that program actually has. However, social media is integrated throughout my school. I want all of the teachers at my school to know at least the basics of social media — ideally, they're more than proficient."
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New tests push schools to redefine 'good enough'
NPR
This past spring, 5 million students from third grade through high school took new, end-of-year tests in math and English that were developed by a consortium of states known as PARCC. It's a big deal because these tests are aligned to the Common Core learning standards, and they're considered harder than many of the tests they replaced. It's also a big deal because until last year, it was all but impossible to compare students across state lines. Not anymore. There's just one problem: The results won't be released for a long time (late fall). What's the holdup, you ask?
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The movement From STEM to STEAM
By: Brian Stack (commentary)
In an elementary classroom in southern California, teacher and educational consultant Sarah Weaver was working with a group of students to use marshmallows and spaghetti to build the tallest, freestanding structure possible. This activity was a great way to promote communication, teamwork and creativity, while allowing students to get to know each other and develop an understanding of appropriate group work behavior. The activity is also a great example of STEAM programming.
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How tech-driven learning can benefit students with disabilities
Education Dive
As technology makes its way into classrooms, the question of what effect innovative strategies will have on students with disabilities remains wide open. In some ways, technology use is nothing new for special education students and teachers. Assistive technology has been a key part of helping disabled students succeed in school and afterwards for decades. But some experts say that the new push for tech-driven, personalized learning environments has the potential to destigmatize their use and provide more opportunity for learning for disabled students.
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Study: Girls do better in school when taught by women
Quartz
Sorry, boys, but the news only gets worse. Across the board, data show that women are better students than men. From test scores to college graduation rates, females outperform males in almost every metric of educational achievement. Now, two economists from Texas A&M University report that schoolgirls do even better than their male counterparts when they are taught by female teachers. Specifically, the authors found a significant change in female test scores in math — long considered the last bastion of male educational dominance — when taught by a woman instead of a man. Jonathan Meer and Jaegeum Lim analyzed the standardized test scores of over 14,000 middle school students in South Korea and found that when taught by a woman, girls’ scores on average were almost 10 percent of a standard deviation higher than boys.
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Kindergarten boys less interested in language activities
Medical News Today
A Norwegian study of kindergarten children reveals that girls are more interested in language activities than boys. As a result boys may receive less linguistic stimulation and become less prepared for school than girls. It is well known that girls develop language skills earlier than boys. A study from the Norwegian Reading Centre at the University of Stavanger also reveals that kindergarten-age girls are more interested in reading and other activities that promote linguistic awareness. "This is thought-provoking. When boys participate less in language activities, there is a danger that they lose out on important linguistic stimulation that promotes key language skills as they start learning to read.
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Study: Most teens start school too early in morning to get enough sleep
USA Today
Most teens start school too early in the morning, which deprives them of the sleep they need to learn and stay healthy, a new study says. The American Academy of Pediatrics last year urged middle schools and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. in order to allow teens — who are biologically programmed to stay up later at night than adults — to get the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep each night. But 83 percent of schools do start before 8:30 a.m., according to a study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The average start time for 39,700 public middle schools, high schools and combined schools was 8:03 a.m., based on data from the 2011-2012 school year.
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The 7 do's and don'ts of creating your own OERs
eSchool News
Whether you know it or not, most educators have already started creating their own open educational resources in the form of tests, handouts and presentations. Bringing them online to share with other educators is just the natural next step. But there are best practices creating and sharing OERs, which are resources that are freely shared and able to be modified and redistributed.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  Stop Bullying/Help Prevent Suicide

Learn more about these new online training programs to help improve the climate and culture in your schools. Based on the movie, Contest, Stand Up Say No to Bullying teaches students how to handle conflict and bullying. Signs Matter helps teachers and administrators identify students who may be contemplating suicide. You can help save lives.
 


Why schools need more teachers of color — for white students
The Atlantic
Noah Caruso, 17, calls South Philadelphia home. Known for cheesesteaks, pizza, and bakeries, South Philly is a close-knit, largely Italian American neighborhood where much of the population has traditionally shared the same background, culture and race. Though an influx of immigrants has made the area more diverse in recent decades, South Philly, like the rest of the city, remains highly segregated. Caruso's predominantly white community was echoed at his middle school, Christopher Columbus Charter School, where he says all of his teachers were white like him, as were virtually all of his classmates. It was against this backdrop that Caruso enrolled in Science Leadership Academy — a public magnet high school in the city — and landed in the freshman English class of Matthew Kay, his first black teacher.
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Words of praise provide special benefit to students with ADHD
PsychCentral
Interesting new research finds that positive reinforcement is especially beneficial for children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Although it was known that praise improves the performance of children with ADHD on certain cognitive tasks, experts were unsure if the results were due to enhanced motivation or because ADHD kids had greater room for improvement. University of Buffalo researchers discovered a little recognition for a job well done means a lot to children with ADHD, more so than it would for typically developing kids.
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Teen depression and how social media can help or hurt
CNN (commentary)
Recent news stories about cyberbullying, with kids running away, hurting others and even taking their own lives, points to a growing trend with often tragic results. According to a recent study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, 23 percent of teens report they are or have been the target of cyberbullying. Another 15 percent admitted to bullying someone else online. The researchers' review of 10 studies that explored the link between social media victimization and depression all showed — without exception — a significant correlation. Yes, cyberbullying undeniably can inflict serious wounds. But from my own family's personal experience, along with research, allowing a teen access to social media can also be a crucial part of recovery from depression and anxiety.
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New study: Picky eating may suggest ADHD, depression or anxiety
ADDitude Magazine
A new study published in Pediatrics has found an association between eating habits and neurological conditions. The researchers, who interviewed parents of 917 children ranging in age from two to six over the course of three years, found a connection between moderate selective eating — indicative of those choosy eaters we mentioned — and symptoms of conditions including anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Children who exhibited severe selective eating — such strict food preferences they have trouble eating away from home — were found to be seven times more likely to be diagnosed with social anxiety, and twice as likely to become depressed.
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School librarians want more technology — and bandwidth
School Library Journal
IPads, maker spaces, 3-D printers and coding skills top the tech wish lists for 1,259 school librarians across the country, according to School Library Journal's 2015 Technology Survey. Educators are hungry to bring their students even more — whether that's robotics classes or Arduino kits. "New computers, tablets, video equipment, all digital tools, instruction on usage, [and] enough bandwidth" count among the must-haves for Andrea Oshima, a school librarian at Aviara Oaks Elementary School in Carlsbad, California. Currently, 64 percent of school librarians consider themselves tech leaders in their schools — and 28 percent feel that their tech skills afford them increased job security.
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Common Core is premier education issue in GOP presidential debate
Education Week
Thought education might never come up during the Republican presidential debates on Thursday night? You weren't alone. Thank goodness for the Common Core State Standards. After just the briefest mention of education during the 5pm "undercard" debate, the subject finally exploded onto the scene about an hour into the primetime show, featuring the 10 highest polling GOP presidential candidates. Fox News moderator Bret Baier asked former Florida governor Jeb Bush whether he agreed with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that most of the criticism of common core is due to "a fringe group of critics."
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Here's what Americans want from a No Child Left Behind overhaul
The Huffington Post
As members of the Senate and House of Representatives work to find compromise on their respective overhauls of the No Child Left Behind Act, Americans are expressing agreement with a central tenet in both chambers' proposals: the federal government should have less influence over standardized tests. A nationally representative HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in early August shows that more than half of Americans think state governments should have more power than the federal government to determine how standardized tests are used in schools. Only 21 percent of respondents said they thought the federal government should have more power than states in this arena; about a quarter said they were not sure.
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Wisconsin districts loading 1-to-1 iPads with Discovery education techbooks
THE Journal
A Wisconsin school district that's kicking off an extensive 1-to-1 program will be using digital textbooks and professional development services from a private partner. D.C. Everest Area School District, which already uses Discovery's streaming video service, will be expanding its business footprint with the education technology company by adopting math, science and social studies "techbooks" for some of its grades.
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New York experience shows Common Core tests can come at a cost for underprivileged students
The Hechinger Report
There's been a considerable debate in New York State about when to demand that high school students master the new Common Core standards as a requirement for graduation. The state began upgrading its traditional high school exams, known as the Regents, to the Common Core standards in 2014. But because teachers hadn't been teaching the new Common Core material for very long, officials decided to give students a safety net: they would continue to administer the old exam, along with the new Common Core exam, and the students could use whichever score was higher.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Research trends: Why homework should be balanced (Edutopia)
Introducing grammar exercises for English language learners (By: Douglas Magrath)
The ultimate guide to gamifying your classroom (Edudemic)
Study: Billions of dollars in annual teacher training is largely a waste (The Washington Post)
When parents are the ones getting schooled by the Common Core (The Atlantic)

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


School weight screenings for teens don't curb obesity
Youth Health Magazine
Weight screenings conducted in high school are apparently not enough to get overweight and obese kids get down to a healthier weight, according to a study. In 2003, Arkansas started a weight screening program in schools in 2003 as a way to deal with soaring rates of obesity. The programs would send alerts to parents of teens with weight problems. But kids who were screened in early high school and again in their junior and senior years did not seem to benefit compared to kids who were exempt from screening, the study found. There does not appear to be any evidence that the screenings are effective at reducing the rate of obesity.
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Minority majority: Impact on assessments
NAESP
Districts around the country are facing an unprecedented shift in demographics. Take for example the fact that students speak 800 different languages in New York City schools. The impact of new "minority majorities," especially as it relates to accurately assessing of English language learners are issues that framed Yvette Donado's session at NAESP's recent annual conference in Long Beach, California. Donado, who is the senior vice president and chief administrative officer of the Educational Testing Service (has spearheaded ETS's initiative to address the needs of English language learners.
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Register for upcoming webcast: How leaders drive student learning
NAESP
Based on The Wallace Foundation 5 Key Practices, panelists will discuss what values, beliefs and personal dimensions they bring to their role as building administrators to meet the specific needs of their school. The behaviors that make a principal successful as they drive student learning, such as resilience, self-confidence, self-analysis, flexibility, situational awareness, relational awareness, positivity and mindfulness will be explored to drive student learning.
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