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What does it mean to be ready for kindergarten?
Statesman Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When kindergarteners take their seats for the first time this year, some already will know how to read and others will have never picked up a book. Some will sit quietly and follow directions while others will struggle to sit in their chairs. Those skills along with early math skills are the greatest predictors for later academic success. Put another way, children who aren't ready for kindergarten more likely will struggle in elementary school and beyond. More


Census Bureau: 'Back-to-school' by the numbers
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The return to school means, among other things, the return to math class and all the calculations, facts and figures that go with it. Perhaps in anticipation of that, the U.S. Census Bureau's latest edition of Facts for Features highlights the various statistics associated with the phrase "Back to School." According to a recent survey conducted by and Citibank personal finance service Women & Co., much of the money moms spend will go toward their children's clothes. More

STEM across the middle grades curriculum
AMLE    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Carl Sagan once said, "We can do science, and with it we can improve our lives." Yes, science is an action — something we can do — and it is apparent that we in education have forgotten that fact. As a result, our world ranking in science has reached an all-time low. Now with the recent push to improve our reputation, STEM has been given the lion's share of the attention and funding as a way to help dig ourselves out. Can it be done? How? What does it look like? A team of dedicated and forward thinking teachers are doing it in Salisbury, Md. More

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Consortia provide preview of Common Core
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As teachers begin shaping lessons for the common standards, many are wondering how to prepare their students for tests that won't be ready for at least two years. But sample items being drafted for those exams offer early ideas of what lies ahead. Two large groups of states are using federal Race to the Top money to create new suites of exams for the Common Core State Standards. Those consortia have recently begun work with private vendors to develop items — questions and tasks — for the tests. But each group has produced a range of sample test items to help those vendors get an idea of what the states want, and experts say they offer valuable insight into the tests that are expected to emerge in 2014-2015. More

Back to school — and new common standards?
The Christian Science Monitor (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Democracy is like herding cats — and so is education reform. As America's public schools consider new common standards in subjects such as math and language arts, it's time to act on these standards while the cats are all in the same room. So far, 47 states have signed on to the "common core state standards" launched in 2009 by the National Governors Association. The standards would ensure uniformity in what's taught in every classroom and what's expected of every student nationwide. Each grade level would work toward the same goals, instead of experiencing educational chaos — thousands of different goals and curricula. More

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Can texting develop other writing skills?
MindShfit    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As more schools begin allowing students to bring their own devices and actually use them in class, the debate around the value of "digital writing" — texting, taking notes on mobile devices, tweeting, etc. — is heating up. Some educators (and even a linguistic expert) believe kids who text are exercising a different, additional muscle when texting, writing and note-taking — and that skill is actually adding to a student's growing and changing repertoire. More

Without the arts, it's not education
GOOD Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Recently Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wrote that "dance, music, theater and visual arts are essential to preparing our nation's young people for a global economy fueled by innovation and creativity." That may be the case, but thanks to education funding cuts, the arts are being systematically stripped from our schools. According to creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson, what's left can hardly be called an education. More


Does more tech in the classroom help kids learn?
Mashable    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As more educational programs turn digital, teachers are finding that blending technology into the learning experience offers kids a crucial leg up in the classroom. Karen Martinez's daughter, Daniella, graduated fifth grade with honors this year and is now reading at a sixth grade level. Just two years ago, she was diagnosed as a special-needs child who struggled with reading. What made the change? More

Don't let the best teachers get away
USA Today (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
School districts across the U.S. are laying off teachers this summer — a pattern that has become an annual rite in some places where budgets are shrinking and enrollments are dropping. About the only upside to the cutbacks is the opportunity they offer to winnow out low-performing teachers and leave the best talent in the classroom. But in too many districts, that's not happening. The result? When students return to school over the next few weeks, they'll find some of the best teachers gone and some of the worst still in their classrooms. More

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5 smart habits to develop for back to school
MindShfit    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The enemy of innovation and growth is routine. These auspicious weeks before the school year commences are the perfect time to create a new routine that will ensure innovation in your instruction and growth as an instructor. Here are some idea for those who want to take advantage of these next few weeks to guarantee the best year they've ever had. More

'Hybrid' home schools gaining traction
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Emmy Elkin's school day starts with a cooking show. The 10-year-old and her mom, Jill Elkin of Peachtree City, Ga., are up at 8 a.m., making breakfast along with "Iron Chef America" and chatting about algebra. Last week, Emmy left home after breakfast to meet a new Japanese tutor, around the time her sister Kayla, 14, dragged herself awake to get her independent mathematics study done before a friend came over for a joint British literature course. The sisters spent the afternoon working through a chemistry course online, with Jill Elkin giving more individual coaching to her younger daughter. More


Children's brains change as they learn to think about others
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Researchers have shown that activity in a certain region of the brain changes as children learn to reason about what other people might be thinking. At around the age of 4 or 5, children begin to think and reason about other people's thoughts and emotions; they start to develop a skill that scientists call "theory of mind." Now, a new study shows that a region of the brain that was already known to be involved in the use of this skill in adults, changes its pattern of activity in children as they begin to acquire theory of mind reasoning for themselves. More

5 must-know tips for deploying iPads in your classroom
Edudemic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If you're looking to deploy iPads in education, you may think that it's just a matter of expense and storage. Those things are big, but they're not the biggest problems you'll face. In fact, this is one of those situations where money is the least of your troubles. More

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Will small districts even bother competing in new Race to Top?
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
T-minus 76 days until applications for the $400 million Race to the Top district competition are due. Will your district be applying? Odds are, probably not. Not only is the 116-page application complex and demanding, but the eligibility requirements will make it difficult for a majority of districts to apply. More than half the nation's school districts are not eligible to apply on their own for the Race to the Top competition for districts because their enrollments are too small. To apply, districts — or groups of districts — must have at least 2,000 students. More

No Child Left Behind: Not dead yet
Stateline    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's been nearly one year since President Barack Obama first announced the administration's plan to offer states waivers from the federal No Child Left Behind law, because a reauthorization of the 10-year-old law is stalled in Congress. Since then, two-thirds of all states and Washington, D.C., have won exemption from some aspects of the education law, most notably its escalating federal proficiency targets for students in math and reading. In exchange, states have promised to beef up standards on their own, develop state accountability systems and incorporate student performance into teacher and principal evaluations. More


Feds push Kansas to revise evaluation of teachers
The Associated Press via The Garden City Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Kansas has until next spring to revise how it evaluates teachers so that they're judged partly by how well their students score on standardized tests, education officials told members of the state school board Tuesday. The federal government is pushing for the changes by making them a condition for waiving key provisions of No Child Left Behind, the law enacted a decade ago requiring all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. With its promise to pursue the revisions in teacher evaluations, the state obtained the waiver, giving Kansas greater flexibility in measuring how well their students are being taught. More

Pledge of Allegiance in public schools: Nebraska set to require time for pledge
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Nebraska Board of Education unanimously voted to approve a rule change that will make it mandatory for the state's public schools to set aside time daily for the Pledge of Allegiance. According to KHAS-TV, the decision, which will affect all students from kindergarten to 12th grade, must still pass through the attorney general's office and the governor. Both are expected to approve the policy. More

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Wellington, Fla., middle school's summer program eases transition to sixth grade
The Palm Beach Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
After being the big kids on the playground, many of this year's incoming sixth-graders are likely nervous about entering a place where they'll be the underdogs. Soon in middle schools throughout Palm Beach County, Fla., they will be expected to navigate through unfamiliar hallways and open their lockers at lightning speeds — all while trying to make new friends. According to school psychologists, going from elementary to middle school can be one of the most difficult transitions for any child. More


Win $5,000 to promote global awareness at your school
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Apply today for the 2012-2013 Sharing the Dream grant program. The NAESP Foundation, with the and MetLife Foundation, will be awarding 25 elementary and middle schools with $5,000 each to create projects focused on global engagement. Applications are due Sept. 14! More

NAESP co-publishes book by Yong Zhao
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Yong Zhao, author and thought leader in global education, struck a chord at the 2012 NAESP Annual Conference and Expo when he said, "Children are like popcorn. Some pop early and some pop late." In a new book co-published by NAESP and Corwin, Zhao explores how teachers and principals can nurture students' individuality and creativity. Explore "World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students" for more ideas and inspiration. More


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