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Trim recess? Some schools hold on to child's play
NPR
It's recess time at Ruby Bridges Elementary School and a third-grader is pummeling a plastic tetherball with focused intensity. He's playing at one of more than a half-dozen recess play stations on the school's sprawling cement playground — there's also wall ball, basketball, capture the flag, sharks and minnows, a jungle gym and tag. The kids at this school in Alameda, Calif., a city on a small island near Oakland, get recess-time help from coach Kenny Wong. Wong is an employee with Playworks, a nonprofit that works with low-income area schools in California and across the country.
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New less restrictive lice policies at some schools leave parents scratching their heads
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
Some schools are letting kids with live lice in their hair back in the classroom, a less restrictive policy that has parents scratching their heads. "Lice is icky, but it's not dangerous," says Deborah Pontius, the school nurse for the Pershing County School District in Lovelock, Nev. "It's not infectious, and it's fairly easy to treat." Previously, most schools have required children with lice to be sent home, in an attempt to prevent the spread to other children. Children haven't been allowed to return to the classroom until all the lice and nits, or lice eggs, are removed.
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Is the Common Core unfair to special needs students?
EdTech Magazine
The Common Core State Standards Initiative has weathered its fair share of criticism on its way to adoption in 45 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories. Critics have argued that the initiative, which aims to raise student achievement through a national set of academic standards, has been poorly implemented, unfairly labels teachers as ineffective in the event of poor standardized test scores, and forces students to think too narrowly about the lessons and problems they set out to solve, among other potential deficiencies.
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Learning to type before learning to write?
Psychology Today (commentary)
One of the most important and simplest lessons in preschool and Kindergarten are the ABCs. At an early age, children learn to recognize the letters, then to print them, in both lowercase and uppercase. If this was 1960, the children would then progress to cursive writing. If cursive writing is disappearing from the public school curriculum, what is next to go? In the next decade, will children learn to type more proficiently than they learn to handwrite?
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The most important lesson schools can teach kids about reading: It's fun
The Atlantic
In a 2005 speech to the American Library Association, then-senator Obama described his view of the importance of literacy: "In this new economy, teaching our kids just enough so that they can get through Dick and Jane isn't going to cut it," he said. "The kind of literacy necessary for 21st-century employment requires detailed understanding and complex comprehension."
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Ready to learn? The key is listening with intention
MindShift
Listening and observing can be passive activities — in one ear and out the other, as our mothers used to say. Or they can be rich, active, intense experiences that lead to serious learning. The difference lies in our intention: the purpose and awareness with which we approach the occasion. Here's how to make sure your intentions are good. Research on how we learn a second language demonstrates that effective listening involves more than simply hearing the words that float past our ears. Rather, it's an active process of interpreting information and making meaning. Studies of skilled language learners have identified specific listening strategies that lead to superior comprehension.
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Latest round of i3 grants includes strong focus on curriculum
Education Week
The latest Investing in Innovation grantees, announced by the U.S. Department of Education, are proposing an array of curriculum-related strategies to improve student achievement. As our own Michele McNeil explained, the 25 most recent winners of the so-called i3 grants are divided into "validation" and "development" grants. The seven validation grants are the heftiest awards, for ideas with the strongest evidence base, while the 18 development grants are smaller and aimed at supporting up-and-coming ideas. In total, the Education Department will award $135 million for the grants, but has not yet specified out how much would be awarded to each individual winner.
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Educational video games help students with math skills
Science World News
Though video games can often be a distraction from chores or school work, a recent study shows how they can also be a motivator help enhance children's math learning skills. According to researchers at New York University and the City University of New York, they found that by playing a math video game either competitively or collaboratively with another student, participants were able to adjust their mindset into learning more about numbers and equations.
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Inquiry learning ideas for math and science with iPads
MindShift
We tend to split science and humanities as though they were separate branches of life. But no matter what profession we choose — artist, plumber, historian, or salesman — we all use some form of scientific inquiry in our daily lives. We learn about the world around us through the same vehicles of experimentation, trial, error and experience. We use scientific inquiry to learn about the world around us. Today's interconnected world demands that the doctor, engineer, pharmacist and scientist increasingly master skills that used to be classified within the domain of the arts. Skills such as communication, presentation, effective writing, among others, are now vital to all walks of life. In addition, scientific inquiry, critical thinking, exploration and experimentation have never been more important skills than they are today.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Leveraging Pinterest for administrators (eSchool News)
More US states leaning on teachers (MoneyWatch)
Imagery: A key to understanding math (MindShift)
Bullying interventions increase bullying (or do they?) (Psychology Today)
PARCC releases sample Common Core test items (THE Journal)

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




Administrators must rise above Common Core controversy
District Administration Magazine
As widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards moves ever closer, the initiative is coming under attack from both the left and right. But school district leaders must ignore the politics and focus on the practical realities of implementation: costs, technology and training, K12 leaders say. "The best thing administrators can be doing is to make sure that students are prepared and are experiencing a course of study that's consistent with these new expectations," says Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts' education commissioner and board chair of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, one of the two Common Core consortiums.
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Do it on their T.E.R.M.S.
The Huffington Post (commentary)
Rob Furman, an elementary school principal and author, writes: "I take being the instructional leader of my building quite seriously. As a part of my instructional duties as the building principal, I am constantly sharing with my teachers the latest and greatest apps and websites out there. I am always very excited to see the teachers incorporate the new technology into their lessons. I am blessed to have a staff that loves technology and I am proud to say that they have become really expert at working with these new apps/websites."
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Gratitude can fuel school transformation
Edutopia (commentary)
Elena Aguilar, a Transformational Leadership Coach from Oakland, Calif., writes: "One of the most common complaints I hear from teachers, administrators, and staff working in public schools is something along the lines of, 'I don't feel appreciated.' I'd like to propose that by simply incorporating a range of practices that allow ourselves and others to express gratitude, we might transform our schools."
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Lunch and Learn: a parent engagement opportunity
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
Amber Teamann, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "Never under estimate a team of creative teachers who want to show off their creative students. Our kinder team hosted a lunch and learn for their parents last week. With November being a month of family engagement, this just tied right in! After 30 minutes in classrooms, parents also got to enjoy lunch with their child. Despite having packed classrooms and 22 five year olds, I was so impressed with the calm & collected manner in which our teachers worked the room, making sure each and every child had someone to share with."
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Administrators must rise above Common Core controversy
District Administration Magazine
As widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards moves ever closer, the initiative is coming under attack from both the left and right. But school district leaders must ignore the politics and focus on the practical realities of implementation: costs, technology and training, K12 leaders say.

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New Common Core resources for educators
eClassroom News
New resources released this month link Common Core-aligned curriculum with any school system’s assessment data, and what's more, these resources for educators are also 100 percent free. The resources, housed on Activate Instruction, are part of an open platform where educators can browse, search, rate, add, share and organize their favorite Common Core-aligned resources, and put them together in personalized playlists for students.

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The state of the Common Core
Edutopia
Millions of teachers and thousands of districts in 45 states are currently undergoing a sea change in the way that they teach and assess students. The new Common Core Standards for learning have been phased into states and districts since 2010, and the digitized Common Core Assessments are scheduled to deploy in states that have adopted them as early as the 2014-2015 school year.

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These 11 leaders are running education but have never taught
The Huffington Post
They design teacher evaluation systems, teacher training guidelines and the types of standards that need to be taught. Yet, they have never been teachers themselves. These days, being a teacher is clearly not a prerequisite for becoming a leader in education. In fact, some of the leaders with the most daily influence on classrooms come from entirely unrelated fields. Below we have compiled a list of some of the most influential leaders in education who have never been teachers.
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The war between fiction and nonfiction and everything in between
Education Week (commentary)
Peter DeWitt, an elementary school principal, writes: "After the first snow day of a new school year, I would sit down on the carpet with my first graders and read Snow Day by Moira Fain. It was, and still is, one of my favorite picture books. It tells the story of a girl who didn't finish her homework, because her siblings had different plans. The next day when she was supposed to hand it in, a huge snow storm pummeled the town and her school closed for a snow day."
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US 'report card' for 2013: Student achievement creeps upward
The Christian Science Monitor
America's students continue to make incremental improvements in math in fourth and eighth grades, and in eighth-grade reading. But schools and educators have made little progress on closing gaps in student performance by race — even over a two-decade period — and the gains that have been made are small ones. That's the verdict from the latest data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, otherwise known as the "nation's report card," which regularly measures students' performance on a variety of subjects.
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How Congress can improve teacher education
Roll Call (commentary)
The nation's teacher education programs are in disarray. Many programs have low admission and graduation standards, weak curricula, inadequate clinical experience, faculty who are out of touch with practice and limited contact with schools. That's the bad news. The good news is that the federal government can change this to match the rhetoric of improving teaching with the resources to do it. In fact, Congress can do it not by enacting yet another new program, but by tweaking two existing programs slated for reauthorization. These are the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, seven years past due, and the Higher Education Act, which expires at the end of 2013.
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States seek to calm districts' Common Core jitters
Education Week
State education leaders are moving to calm political tempests over the Common Core State Standards by adopting or reaffirming policies aimed at asserting local control over data, curriculum, and materials. But the classroom-level impact of those moves could be negligible as states forge ahead on Common Core implementation. On the one hand, officials' actions in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Michigan highlight anxieties over the privacy of information about individual students and what some see as state and federal intrusion into classrooms. At the same time, the specific steps, all in states run by Republicans, largely emphasize existing policy or practice.
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Los Angeles schools slow rollout of iPads amid security concerns
Reuters
The Los Angeles school district is putting the brakes on a project to give an iPad to each student, a $1 billion initiative that is the largest rollout of its kind in the nation and has been plagued by students hacking the devices' security features. District officials have already provided their devices to over 25,000 students, and under their original plan would have finished distributing tablets to the last of its 650,000 students in late 2014.
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Schools experiment with extending schedules
Daily Camera
About 200 Angevine Middle School students in Colorado are getting to school extra early, at 7:45 a.m., this year to take classes that give them extra support or enrichment. There's a session to help kids who are trying tougher classes, a book club, a film class, math classes for both support and enrichment, and jazz band or orchestra. Forty fifth-graders from area elementary schools also take an early-morning, middle school-level math class at Angevine. After school, there are a variety of sports and clubs.
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9 essentials for tech integration
NAESP
Point Road School in Little Silver, New Jersey, has embraced a focused movement in which staff members work toward a common goal: preparing students to be high performers in the 21st century. Their efforts in technology have improved teaching and student engagement. Here, the school's principal shares the nine essential components of technology integration, based on her school's journey.
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5 collaborative professional learning activities
NAESP
Successful professional learning includes collaborative activities where educators can examine their work and improve practice. These five strategies — book studies, looking at student work, learning walks, lesson studies and developing consistent expectations — offer new ways for staff members to work collaboratively and gain new knowledge and skills.
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Before the Bell is a benefit of your membership in the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). For information about other member benefits, visit www.naesp.org or contact us at naesp@naesp.org.

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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